Wisdom — the Ability of Critical Thinking

Everywhere I go on the internet and many materials I read, people use the word success as an acryonm of the possession of incredible money and wealth. I do not intend to criticize people who use the word as such, because such usage of the word has been built into us over the centuries and has become a natural trend. But a mindfulness to pay attention to such details and critical think such informaion is what we need to overhaul many existing problems. This brings me to the topic of wisdom.

Wisdom is the process of critical thinking accompanied by awareness. By such, I mean the process of taking in information, understanding and evaluating them, then using your own aggregated version of such information adjoined with your set of principles and values to change and make decisions — meanwhile, doing each step in the process with awareness.

Such is wisdom. Wisdom connects the dots between information, which is learned using intelligence.

The conditions of current society and education system have mostly strip away people’s ability of critical thinking. In other word, intelligence is emphasized and wisdom neglected. Without critical thinking, the more you study, read blogs, news, books, and accumulate informations, the more harmful it becomes because you will get information poisoning. Without the ability of critical thinking to process knowledge and information, you become a mannequin that is pulled in all the different directions implicated by them which came from different sources, or you may get hung up on one specific idea told by an important world figure, a writer or a blogger, which includes me.

Do not simply listen to me or others. Understand yourself. Think for yourself. That is what I always urge. And that is why I rarely dose out specific details or sets of rules and tips on what to do on personal development and personal finance here. First of all, because I am no expert and I am always still learning myself. Second of all, if my words motivate you to think and act for yourself, you can easily find lots of information out there. If I or anybody else simply tells you what to do and you simply follow the words, that is not useful in my perspective. Learn to critical think and you can become wise and useful for yourself and others around you, without reliance on experts, gurus, or whatever.

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”

Each of us already has a lot of information inside our heads, being part of a culture, club, religion, or sub-community that are governed by a set of beliefs and rules… however, did you ever calm down and look closely to evaluate them? Did you ever attempt to understand what they truly mean? Do you simply tie yourself to a set of principles that came externally? And take them as your own and perhaps try to force them on to others? Do you dare not dispute them? I am not asking these questions to criticize you nor to ask you to haphazardly reject what you believe at the moment. I am asking you to think. Be honest with yourself. Be aware.

Imagine information and knowledge as a double edged sword and wisdom as the strength to wield the sword. Wisdom allows one to wields the sword of information and knowledge and leverage them to create positive change and results through informed decisions. Like someone without the strength to wield a sword that is too heavy for him will invariably get hurt swinging the sword, information and knowledge will invariably hurt those who lack wisdom yet wield them.

During today’s information age, we have more information, more knowledge available than ever, but we lack the wisdom to wield them currently. That is why so much harm we are doing to each other and to nature.

Originally posted 2008-06-08 14:08:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Death of Responsibility

The main reason for the title of this post sprouts from reading one article and another article regarding attempt to pass legislation that set aside 20 billion will help people from foreclosures in the subprime mortgage sector. And I won’t get started on how the goverment is over-spending (our poor tax money…) It’s a whole other rant.

Anyways, you ask, how does the legislation relate to responsibility, or the death of it?

Here is some background info, in a nutshell:
Yes, the subprime mortgage exists to help people with lesser credit to obtain money to be able to purchase a home. But couple years ago, a lot of people, who I would assume did not think and plan logically based on their cash flow and how the possibility of rate adjustment would affect their payment in future, take on these loans to purchase a home. And I am certain among those people, there are plenty who took it to the extreme to buy something they can only marginally afford. On top of that, they probably take the risk of buying such homes with the assumption that the market price will continue to rise. Needless to say, now that the market price is stagnant and probably will drop some more, and time has reached to point of rate reset, they can no longer afford their payments and face foreclosure.

Here is the answer why having the legislation is an irresponsible deed:
The word of significance from my explanation above is, RISK. Any market/business out there involves risk. Like buying stocks, people understand (I hope they do…) that they are at risk of buying something that which the value may drop and therefore, they can lose money. The logic isn’t too far off here. These people, who are now facing foreclosures, borrwed money and borrowed more than they can afford. There’s also probability that they did not try to fully comprehend the terms – what could happen with the rate and how a slight change in rate can strangle them by taking loans to the extreme. They took the bet, and they lost. Like gambling in casino, you don’t get your money back when you lost. Period

This takes me to the conclusion that the folks proposing the legislation are simply silly. If they go ahead with that, why don’t they have legislation to help cover the people who lost in the stock market. Next, help the people who started business and completely failed. While we are at it, let’s have legislation that bails out the folks who lost their shirts at casino. This really makes me want to laugh.

On top of this and outside of the financial arena, responsibility is also non-existent. A few points of support are:

  • Most recently, from the Virginia Tech shooting, I talked about how people fail to look into themselves for the source of problem
  • Another recent case, check out some news on Alberto Gonzales. The dude used 50+ times of “I don’t recall” as his answers in his own defense. Isn’t he the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation? If so, I would say, whether he is willing or not, whether he likes it or not, it’s his job, and he should be aware of the firing process of eight attorneys. Since he doesn’t recall of of that, he deserves to be fired, as a normal employee would on a job.
  • A case of parents suing frat/school for the demise of their under-age-son because of alchohol. My argument – did the fraternity or the school make the decision for the boy to sneak in and over-drink? Even if it’s due to hazing, the kid chose to join the frat himself. I am sorry, but he has made a stupid choice.
  • Few years back, a case where people attempt to sue the big four fast food restaurants “lying” to customers and need to offer healthier options to. What the heck, c’mon, we all know fast food are not healthy. Go eat something else if you want to be healthy or add exercise to the agenda.
  • Domestic (unmarried) partner claiming the other person has held them back in life. This is an example I observed from personal life and my argument – pure excuses.

The list could go on if I really want to keep digging, but I think I have stated my point. It would really help if people do THINK before they make a decision, and also understand that whatever outcomes are the direct result of our own decisions and actions, and we need to stop blaming and take responsibility.

Originally posted 2007-04-23 00:52:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Courage through Wisdom

I love the lyrics from Sixx A.M.’s song – Life is Beautiful

You can’t quit until you try
You can’t live until you die
You can’t learn to tell the truth
Until you learn to lie

You can’t breathe until you choke
You gotta laugh when you’re the joke
There’s nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive…

Despite all the talk about class warfare between poor and rich these days, I do not find that we can really use poor and rich to be real dividing categories for people.

Really, the amount of money that each of us make in life is a lot more dependent on luck and chance than we’d like to think. Yeah, I know that this is blasphemy for people who argue their success all due to their hard work and blah blah blah but this is a topic for another day.

Truly, if I must use one thing to “measure” someone, I look to how wise they are.

And such thing as wisdom, though abstract, is something that is only accumulated by someone who use their heart (not just with a thinking mind). Someone with wisdom does not simply repeat others say-so, do not simply rehash made-up concepts that sound so right but are fundamentally flawed.

Doesn’t seem like it’s easy to tell. Here’s the real differences.

A wise person seems to gain without overexerting. They seem comfortable, confident without an overbearing alpha attitude. They are genuinely happy. They laugh relatively more.

A less wise person hoard money yet don’t seem to know how much he has. He’s insatiable and is unable to cherish things and people. They find drama and always seem anxious.

Here’s the truth. I want to be a wise person and I had done a lot to become one over the years. I am and want to say as someone who everyone wants to converse and discuss many topics in life with even as I get old.

I will show that I care without reciting motivational slogan and self-improvement concepts with you. I will analyze without making the decision for you.

I may even let go of you if I must. So that only when you’ve completely fallen, when you are fully capable of listening to new advice, I can share with you wisdom and other life lessons.

As the lyrics at the beginning shows, we cannot understand the other side without the contrast of worst. (If you thoroughly understand this sentence, you share the wisdom I want to say…) Without ever feeling suffocated, we cannot understand the preciousness of air.

Without wisdom, we will always stumble. In a world that is overwhelmed by the voice of the unwise, inevitably we stumble and will continue to do so unless something changes. As wisdom is lacking, so does courage.

Courage is understanding thoroughly.
Courage is making the choice that others may not.
Courage is letting yourself and others make mistakes.

Courage is completely dependent upon wisdom.

That’s why I find it essential to have time to be still and put our heart and mind back together daily, let myself read, and learn, and digest, let myself integrate not just information but feelings… to grow my wisdom daily.

That is how I have courage… an imperturbable courage to face each moment that is to come.

Originally posted 2012-04-04 23:35:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A Generation Gone Awry

In the latest issue of BusinessWeek, there is an article about students taking the extra effort to be competitive by participating in financial/investing clubs AFTER getting into prestigious school, Meet Your New Recruits, They Want to Eat Your Lunch. Here is an excerpt:

Once, merely graduating from an Ivy League college or similarly prestigious rival like Stanford or Swarthmore qualified students for a choice entry-level perch on Wall Stree. No longer. “The whole idea of smart people just falling into banking is becoming rarer,” says Lance LaVergne, a vice-president and global head of diversity recruiting at Goldman Sachs. “Clubs are essential to preparation, especially for students who are not majoring in traditional discipline like finance or accounting.”

Also in the article, a girl is described to gain admission to three prestigious clubs at Stanford, and it is AMAZING.

I understand the world is getting tougher out there. Therefore, it is great to be driven. It is great to prepare for the future. It is great to kick-start learning about investing because that’s what I am doing now. But despite all that, I can’t help but contemplate if these students are getting too mixed up in the money-means-success culture at a very young age. I can’t help but worry that these students would grow up with the only ability to handle money, finance, and investing and narrow vision due to being a money-purist. Is that what life is all about?

I am not saying one should not focus on academic work because I did that and graduated with a 3.8+ GPA majoring in Computer Science and Japanse, and here I am working in the computer industry. One must need pragmatism to survive in this society.

However, from when I was an undergraduate, a huge part of what makes me the person today is being a part of the fencing team for 4 years, where focus, discipline, hard-work, comradeship, travelling, and fun happened, and then other things like social dancing, Japanese cultural events, a few music classes, misc. physical exercise, or just having some plain(dumb) fun with my friends. Perhaps that is why I am not rich, in today’s commen sense at least, but I am perfectly content with how I am and what I have, which are not just things and money.

On top of that, these investment clubs may have an unintended consequence of promoting short-term trading because the students are driven for immediate results to show recruiters and they have an investment time horizon of at most 4 years.

I only wish the students can still take their sweet time, in spite of those clubs, and participate in other cultural, character cultivating, or simply fun events. Because I would hate to see a bunch of physically-dwarfed, money-mongering, rich, yet utterly unhappy people to be grown out of this generation.

Your thoughts?

Originally posted 2008-05-18 11:01:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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