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Real winners don’t think. Only losers do.

September 16, 2008

“Why think so much? Why make life so complicated?”

Does that sound familiar to you?

I hear it all the time. Some time ago I helped a friend do some financial modeling. Leaving no stone unturned, I ended up with a humongous worksheet that had more than 10 sub-sheets, over a hundred formulas and a bucketful of variables. He looked at it and balked. No no no he said, you’re overthinking it. Lets be simple. Lets have just two sub-sheets with less than 20 formulas and about 10 variables and wa-lah, its done.

Ooo, wonderful, I said. So we took his worksheet to a financier who promptly shot it full of holes and sent him packing in under 15 minutes. I was entertained. I would’ve done the same if I was the financier, especially when some noob comes to me claiming he can turn over $50 million in 5 years. To me it was a no-brainer (pun intended). If I hadn’t dug into the details, that $5 million my friend asked for would’ve gone down the toilet faster than you can sing hail Mary.

Of course sometimes its real stupid to think, especially for us guys. When you’re having a good time like getting drunk or getting laid, to think would seriously mean you’re a moron. What’s wrong with you? Eat first think later! Apparently girls aren’t exempted either. When it comes to shopping, you’re not supposed to let your thoughts get in the way of spending money. Why make life so complicated? Just do it!

So I’ve concluded that if you want to lead a happy life, this is how you must live.

Turn everything off. Just let your hunger, fear, and groin lead the way. Heck my dog would tell me the same thing if he could talk. I just have to decide if I wanna live like my dog.

But seriously, can someone tell me how to draw the line between when to think and when not to think? Because its starting to smell like an old scam. Remember when you were in school and there’s this bunch of guys who’d play all semester long but would score perfect GPA’s? They made a lot of noise to make sure you knew they didn’t study when in fact they did, when people weren’t looking. Its a ruse to create an image that they’re smarter than the rest of you losers. Girls dig smart guys. Go figure.

Could the same thing be happening with people who keep insisting that you think too much? Is the real message hey I made it without thinking, why are you such a loser?

Actually I like simple living but not by turning off my brain. Its by considering all options, all consequences and choosing one that promises me the simplest outcome. Somewhere along the way, I learnt that the more aware you are, the simpler life gets.

Which is why I come home to an almost empty house every day.

One last thing. IMO, people get confused between processing a thought and acting on an imagined fear. Big honking difference there mates. In the former, you gather and digest information while keeping your feelings separate. Its called being objective. In the latter, you jump to emotional conclusions before something happens (Oh no, I think he’s going to reject it so I won’t do it!) That’s not thinking. Thats just being silly.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2008 9:16 am

    Dear Damien,

    IMHO, there are two types of thinking: Productive and Non-Productive.

    Non-productive thinking are reflections about things outside our circle of influence. Why think about things you can’t change like global warming or *whatever*? Same goes about thinking of things gone wrong in the past or what will happen in the future.

    Productive thinking is being mindful in the current moment and ensuring we do what needs to be done.

    It sounds so darn simple, but I’m having a hard time practicing it even after so many years. What do you think? True?

    BTW – Your spreadsheet sounds cool! Mind sharing it? I’m an excel fan myself and always looking to learn new things πŸ™‚

  2. Damien permalink*
    September 16, 2008 9:57 am

    Hi, that worksheet’s gone last year, I didn’t save it. Its a pretty standard financial model – sales forecast, cash flow, income statement, balance sheet, sensitivity analysis, net present value. What complicated it was the plan to operate in 6 countries with 200 staff and 12 products, which becomes a nightmare when you factor in regional cost multipliers like currencies and labor costs.

    Yeah you’re absolutely right about living in the now instead of the past or future. Its like an interest-bearing account. You only need to worry about how much money to plug in today. The result will come tomorrow by itself, no need to worry.

    The formula behind “living now” is cause and effect (some call it karma). Every act has an unavoidable consequence. You do something positive today, something positive will happen to you in the future. If you do something negative today, it will come back and bite you in the future. So instead of worrying about one’s past and future, just concentrate on doing good things today and tomorrow will automatically be alright. That’s what I understand about living in the “now”.

    I’m not sure about the circle of influence. In theoretical physics the Thermodynamic law says we’re all connected. Its mechanism is explained by Newton’s laws. If you can connect the dots you can come to a different conclusion, meaning that whatever you do will always have an effect on your surroundings.

  3. September 16, 2008 10:01 am

    er…i don’t score perfect GPAs (far from it) but during my primary n secondary sch, i’ve never finished any subject b4 going to the exam hall. sleep was far more important. πŸ˜€ i needed a fresh n lively brain to tikam.

    anyway, i do agree with Avatar’s concept of Productive n Non-productive. Some people do think too much. For example – me. But i only think about my future and what i gonna do…and what kind of product would benefit people.

    and how to earn money — though i failed in this, miserably.

    I don’t think about things i cannot change. Like how to save the world from terrorists. or how to bring mankind to another planet… or worrying about things that are way beyond my reach, like er…..fearing for my exam result?

  4. September 16, 2008 10:58 am

    Everybody learns something eventually. There are fast learners or slow ones. Some just listen and get it. Others have to study the text meticulously to understand. Students who go by rote learning and memorising to get a string of A’s still subconciously get some facts into their brains. All that is through the thinking process.

    If you have to think about same old problems all the time which may have different results, you can try to find a common solution for it. Nowadays if you want to outsource your thinking you get a programmer. Q.E.D.

    Humans just have to think. If the brain stops, it’s dead. If you think about a problem without getting to a solution, that’s called worrying. You decide whether what you’re thinking about is worth it or not. That’s wisdom.

  5. September 16, 2008 11:39 am

    Dear Damien,

    Whoa! Complicated spreadsheet. I’m impressed πŸ™‚ The thing with financial modeling is that errors tends to creep in. Are you good with Excel VBA coding as well?

    IMHO, the Circle of Influence is a concept to help me let go of things which (I think) is beyond my control. Helps me reduce my worries.

  6. Damien permalink*
    September 17, 2008 8:49 am

    @alvin, for me there is no such thing as thinking too much, but I’m beginning to understand where everbody’s coming from. I suspect people get stressed out when they think hence the averseness. Maybe I’m different in that sense. I’m able to detach feeling when I think. To me thinking is like walking down the supermarket aisle, figuring out what’s good as I look at the labels.

    @lc, yeah ppl learn in different ways all right. Some listen to advice. Some only get the picture when they lose a limb. As I mentioned to Alvin, the “don’t think too much” advice seems to come the feeling that thinking is a stressful activity to be avoided as much as possible. If you follow the breadcrumbs and contemplate on the nature of that stress right down to its source, you learn a lesson about human nature. (I’m an advocate of understanding nature as opposed to ignorance is bliss, haha)

    @avatar, what kind of errors, human or system? I know VB but I’ve never found it necessary for my financial modeling so far. The inbuilt financial functions are good enough.

    If thinking gives rise to worry, could it be that its not thinking that is defective but one’s attitude towards the subject. So which one do you fix, the attitude or the thinking process. In biology terms, do you throw away the microscope or deal with the bacteria. Something to think about.

    Incidentally, do you know the fat smiling Buddha? He swallows anything the world can throw at him (hence his pot belly). The smile means he can face the world wthout worry. The statue is a depiction of wisdom, compassion and equanimity.

  7. September 17, 2008 9:10 am

    Dear Damien,

    Errors in financial modeling are human ones mostly based on my experience. Easy to link the wrong cells or build the wrong formulas. VB are useful to automate certain functions when handing over the worksheet to an end user with limited excel experience. But we’re digressing…

    Too much mindfulness is sometimes a bitter pill too. Forces one to grow up and take a hard look at oneself… To see so much selfishness and ego in oneself is a bit depressing.

  8. Damien permalink*
    September 17, 2008 9:31 am

    Ahah. Now you know how Neo felt when he decided to take the red pill, hehe. πŸ™‚

  9. tinytapir permalink
    September 18, 2008 1:55 pm

    “Why think about things you can’t change like global warming or *whatever*?”

    On the other hand, little drops make up the ocean. Yes, it’s important to be in the moment fully to appreciate it and do it 100% well (multi tasking bah), but never ruminating on the future or the past does not make for a very well rounded individual either.

    Another saying – great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, small people talk about other people.

    I don’t know if its ever possible to break free from the past (we learn lessons from it) or the future (I have a sales forecast to keep). I think its normal to reminisce. Its just that some people go beyond reasonable and keep hammering on someone over what they did 2 years ago, or worry so much about tomorrow they forget what they need to do today. – d

  10. stella permalink
    September 19, 2008 8:44 pm

    The new image blog is very soothing. Your other blog description (i mean right here) is very funny,entertaining & enlighten. Maybe your other blog needs a renovation too. Hehe. A very cute monkey pictures. Just like the owner. Haha.

    Don’t think too much? That’s the sage advice. Aren’t in the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu says ‘ Ordinary mind is the Tao ‘. So being simple, life will be more simple. Sometimes its hard to shut the mind becoz our thought is very tricky & like to run around even during meditation. I guess as long as your thought is positive, noble & love, everything will be fine. Just be yourself & be free. Lets God take care of everything.

    It is said that a simple living place, tidy & cleanliness have a better feng shui & better flow of chi as there is no cluttering blockage. So this is good for meditation progress.

    Regarding global warming, just be positive. Yeah global warming looks like something that is out human capability. But we have the solution. Only vegetarian diet can truly help. And as every action provokes a reaction, so if we do good action, the reaction will be definitely good and like attracts like. So if we save lives, ours will be spared.

    Don’t everyone notice there’s disaster in other part of the country & its more frequent nowadays. Why is this happening? Global warming is a consequence of our bad action towards environment, human & especially animal for many countless years. And it had accumulated & had reach to this critical stage. Many Masters has come down to Earth to warn us. But not many listen. Its time that the animal suffering has to stop. Why so many disease appear eg mad cow disease, pig disease, bird flu, e coli or salmonella
    poisoning ….etc? Clearly it is a warning sign, as Heaven’s last resort to sound an alarming bell. Anyone who can communicate with the animals by telepathy would confirm this view. A civilization is judged by the way the people treat their animals.

    Thinking of things gone wrong in the past or what will happen in the future? Yes, Buddha say that we have to think at the present & don’t worry of the future. Bible also said the same thing. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Its enough u take care of today. Thats i understand and this apply to our daily life. Its sound very simple but not easy to be done. Many things happen its becoz of our past action. Thats how happen to the human race even many sage or master had already advise us….

    Buddha has already said in the first precept: Do not kill/ Refrain from taking life of sentient beings. Do not kill, not only include human beings but also our younger brothers & sisters that is animal. Bible also stated very clearly: God said,” Who told you to kill the bullock and the she goat to make an offering to me? Wash yourselves from this innocent blood, so I may hear your prayer; otherwise I will turn my head away because your hands are full of blood. Repent yourselves so I may forgive you”. And God said, I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; but for the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food. If only human listen to these great guideline, human would not make so much error & the world will be in paradise soon.

    Currently, Earth is in the process of cleansing period in order to prepare for the golden era. You see, the more people join the vegetarian circle, the more time we will have to cut the global warming. Not long ago, we had only like 2 years, but now, we have gain 4 years & 6 months due to all the effort of everybody promoting vegetarian, animal lover, other vegetarian group, media help with the broadcasting information, including TV, government effort….etc. And now more and more people have joined the vegetarian diet due to the compassionate love that they want to save lives on the planet now. As we go on, we will gain more & more time. So be positive.

    We must stop all acts of harming and killing, hurting humans or other species, stop damaging the environment and live simple life, as simple as possible according to our resources. More in tune with nature, live and let all live, so that our lives may be spared and blessed with happiness.

    Hi stella, thanks for the enlightening words. I once read a disturbing article about what happens when an animal dies a traumatic death, like when its being sluaghtered. Its body produces a chemical opposite of endorphins, can’t remember the name. Over the years as humans consume and absorb that chemical, something happens to them. Heightened aggression or something like that. Wonder if you’ve heard of it.

  11. September 21, 2008 10:59 am

    hey man, your blog is good! I like reading some of the stuff you’ve posted up πŸ™‚ Very thought-provoking πŸ™‚

    For me, I personally believe that do alot of thinking, think as much as you want, but you don’t have to show the other person you’ve been thinking alot, rather try to simplify your ideas when you present to him/her. Don’t swamp the individual with your thought processes cause chances are he’s not gonna get it and it’s just going to make himn or her confused even more. Do alot of thinking to cover every possible angle, but when it comes to presenting. let be as simple as possible. If he’s attentive, he’ll ask you more questions and probe further and you’ll be able to answer him by sharing with him more on what you’ve done or thought of.

    Hi uncannyman, welcome to my blog. I think we’re on the same page. Funny thing about wisdom, it tends to come out as simplicity after one has thought through all options. However most people would insist that simplicity is to live like an idiot, achieveable by turning off all brain activity.

  12. September 22, 2008 12:22 am

    Hi daminen, more thoughts coming your way, hope you don’t mind them πŸ™‚

    the CEO of my former company once told me this at the culmination of our graduate management trainee program

    “The ability to articulate your thoughts is one of the greatest assets you can ever have, always learn to harness that”

    I guess if you’re able to explain it easily to the other person so much so he understands what you’re talking or explaining about, it shows that you understand the material well and that you’ve served your purpose.

    As Einstein once said : Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler πŸ™‚

    Keep simple…always!

    Hi uncannymind, no I don’t mind. Your comments are welcome anytime! Yes, your former boss is right. Good communication makes a tough subject sound simple. Einstein is a great example. He explained the universe (well, most of it) in just one simple equation.

    Its also one reason why I blog – to learn how to compress an idea into a few simple paragraphs as opposed to a long-winded, constipated way of expression. πŸ™‚

  13. stella permalink
    September 24, 2008 9:30 pm

    I don’t know much about the chemical opposite of endorphins. But when the animal its slaughtered, its body do produces a chemical reactions. When animals are killed, they are terribly stricken with agony, fear and resentment. This causes the production of toxins that stay in their meat to harm those who eat it. Since the frequency of the vibration of animals is lower than that of mankind, they will influence our vibration, and affect the development of the wisdom. If human beings eat many animals, they will also become affected with animal instinct and quality. I guess you already know that eating meat can cause diseases such as High blood preassure, Heart disease, Diabetes, Strokes, Cancer…..etc.

    According to Hinduismn:

    Food is the source of the body’s chemistry, and what we ingest affects our consciousness, emotions and experiential patterns. If one wants to live in higher consciousness, in peace and happiness and love for all creatures, then he cannot eat meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs. By ingesting the grosser chemistries of animal foods, one introduces into the body and mind anger, jealousy, fear, anxiety, suspicion and a terrible fear of death, all of which are locked into the flesh of butchered creatures. For these reasons, shakaharis(vegetarians) live in higher consciousness and mansaharis(Meat eaters) abide in lower consciousness.


    If you eat meat for forty days, those qualities will come within you.
    Those actions will come within you.
    Their blood will come within you.
    Their qualities and their actions will come within you.
    Because of that, your human qualities will change, your compassionate qualities will change, the essence of your body will change.
    O ‘Ali, you should not eat meat or flesh.
    You have to diminish that.
    Do not eat that.
    ~ Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Islamic Sufi saint

    From the beginning of recorded history we can see that vegetables have been the natural food of human beings. Many famous writers, artists, thinkers, scientists, philosophers, and eminent men were vegetarians. The following people have all embraced vegetarianism with enthusiasm: Shakyamuni Buddha, Jesus Christ, Lao Tzu, Confucious, Chuang Tzu, Bodhidharma, Quan Yin Bodhisattva, Hui Neng, Lord Krishna, St francis of Assisi, Leo Tolstoy, Socrates, Pythagoras, Zoroaster, Paramahansa Yogananda, Kabir, Ashoka the Great, Voltaire, Leonardo Da Vinci, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Henry Ford, John Robbins, Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and the list go on……

    Thats explain why Albert Einstein’s- IQ is so great. It is all due to his vegetarian diet and he somehow practises Meditation (probably Yoga Meditation).

    “Since the frequency of the vibration of animals is lower than that of mankind, they will influence our vibration,..” Do you have the source for this? I am doing my own study into physics and trying to understand the effect of frequencies on human perception.

  14. stella permalink
    September 26, 2008 9:28 pm

    This source ,i get it from my Enlighntened Master teaching under vegetarian column. Website:

    Actually the question is like this:

    Q: Some people say that it is important to be a good hearted man, but it is not necessary to be a vegetarian. Does this make sense?

    M: If one is truly a good hearted person, then why does he still eat another being’s flesh? Seeing them suffer so, he should not be able to bear to eat them! Flesh eating is unmerciful, so how can this be done by a good hearted man? Master Lien Ch’ih once said, “Kill its body, and eat its meat. In this world there is no one more cruel, malevolent, atrocious and evil than this man.” How can he ever claim that he himself has a good heart? Mencius also said, “If you see it alive, you can’t bear to see it die, and if you hear it groaning you can not bear to eat its meat; so the real gentlemen keep far from the kitchen.” Human intelligence is higher than that of animals, and we can use weapons to make them unable to resist us, so they die with hatred. The kind of man who does this, bullying small and weak creatures, has no right to be called a gentleman. When animals are killed, they are terribly stricken with agony, fear and resentment. This causes the production of toxins that stay in their meat to harm those who eat it. Since the frequency of the vibration of animals is lower than that of mankind, they will influence our vibration, and affect the development of our wisdom.

    You may also refer to these website:

    I’m sorry i can’t provide any physics source for your own study of the frequencies effect on human perception. Somehow physics is also related to spiritual because there are things that cannot seen through our naked eye.
    Only an Fully Enlightened Being can guide us the way.

    Your other blogs regarding State of awareness, Part 1 mention the level of awareness of each bacteria, trees, plants, animals & humans are quite similar to the frequency of the vibration.. Sometimes we call it the level of consciousness. I guess Frequency is related to Sound.

    You see, all things in nature are made up of sound waves, including the milky way, the solar system & the earth. The essence of minerals, animals & plants is all sound wave. This sound is the very essence that compose all of nature. Therefore, source of all things is the sound.

    Buddha has said that the animal will reincarnate as human being once their time is up & have accumulate enough merit to be a human being. All natures created by the creator will have the chance to join the ladder of evolution. The trees, rocks, minerals, insect, plants & animal will evolve & become human beings.

    The level conciousness of a human being is higher than the animal, plants, trees & rocks. The level consciousness of a plants is very low. Their understanding & digestive system is low. So they learn slowly, with many thousands of years of experiences, by absorbing the teachings from the energies & surrounding atmosphere. They have to be in such kind of atmosphere for many, many thousands of years until they finally awaken & know “Ah! Yes! That’s it! And then they will be given the human body. They are young soul. So if you see any human being that is dumb, maybe they just reincarnate from the plants because they’re lack of experience in life.

    God has commissioned humankind to rule over, to be king of the animals. That means we have to take care of them, teach them & make them evolve. And when the other animals come up to become humans, then there must be some other humans already more evolved, more wise, to teach those newborn humans. There are trees, rocks, minerals that have to evolve & become human beings. If they come up & no one teaches them then they go back to the kingdom of minerals & trees again. Its the same with human beings. If human regress to animal quality or doing many bad thing then they will also regress becoming animal again.

    Your other blogs, the state awareness Part 2 mentions Humans have a gift. We can move up and down the awareness continuum at will. Unlike animals, we actually do have a choice. That is correct. So human being have a choice whether how to make use of their wisdom, because everyone has wisdom hidden within ourselves. That’s what we call the Kingdom of God or Buddha natures.

    Hi, thanks for providing the links. Sometime last year I saw some vague similarities between states of awareness described by Buddhist monks and some aspects of string theory based on the study of vibrations. This branch of theoretical physics explains a lot of things I’ve always wondered about. If only I had more time to dig further into it.

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