Core of Being – Are you are or do you think you are?

Most fundamentally, there are two realms of living.

1. I am.
2. I think therefore I am.

For centuries until now, we are actually moving more more toward number 2. Rene Descartes helped to promote and propagate number 2 with his “Cogito ergo sum”.

Genuine living happens by number 1.

Two can be easily mistaken. The difference between the two could be a very fine line yet it represents a world’s difference.

It’s easier by an example.

It’s the difference between talking about the ocean and swimming in the ocean. One can be so eloquent and seemingly so knowledgeable about the ocean yet never had really swim in it while someone who had and is swimming in the ocean, may just have nothing to say, nor will there be enough words for him to describe to others who had never swum in the ocean.

Fools are people who mistaken the eloquent non-swimmer as a swimmer.

“I think I am” is easy…
“I am” is loaded.

Originally posted 2012-01-04 15:17:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Best Answer From Neo In Matrix Revolution on Choice

I got to watch Matrix Revolutioin once again recently. During the somewhat ridiculous, “dragonball-style” fight between Agent Smith and Neo in the finale, Neo got pummeled to the ground as the enormous raindrops continue to mercilessly hammer on his drenched-self… The furious Agent Smith insists and prosecutes Neo on the futility of the Neo’s struggle and the meaninglessness of the human race…

Agent Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more that your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?

Neo: Because I choose to.

I love how he simply responded, “Because I choose to.” I love it, I absolutely love Neo’s response. And I also love Agent Smith’s twisted facial expression to the response.

At the end of the day, we need to understand that every moment, at every crossroad, is about us making choices with all reasonings aside. The choice can range from being simple as choosing what to eat for dinner to something difficult as what to do with a relationship. Here is the truth. You are unhappy? Because you choose to. You are stuck in the same boring job? Because you choose to. You are very healthy? Because you choose to. Let’s face it. Be it positive or negative, whatever happens in life are direct consequences from the choices that we make. Consciously thinking and knowing that our very own selves are making the choices is what will empower us to take charge, to be proactive in life. Note the keyword: consciously.

Next time you get all the “why” questions: Why do you work so hard? Why do you love me? Why do you follow the strict diet? Why do you care? Why even set a goal? Why do you persist on the same path when it can get so painful and lonely? Why, why, why…

The simple answer can be, “Because I choose to.”

Also next time you are at a crossroad or desire some changes in life.

You are the one making the choice. You choose. No one else does.

This post is closely related to Stop blaming, take responsibility

Originally posted 2007-06-13 23:56:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

IBM 401k plan change

The path of building a nest eggs is full of emotions/surprises.

The path of building a nest eggs is full of emotions/surprises.

There is a spat of news from December that has caused me to think about 401k a lot lately. IBM, one of the largest, employer made a big changes in their 401k plan.

In short, the company used to pay out the matching contribution with each paycheck bi-monthly but starting in 2013, those contribution is paid only once a year in lump sum on December 31 and only if the employee is still employed on December 14. The employees will still receive their own contributions per paycheck in their 401k account.

Nonetheless, it’s good news to company’s bottom line and also shareholders but all bad news for employees because of these cons:

  • loss of the automatic dollar cost averaging over the year
  • loss of potential gain during the year
  • postential loss of all company contribution for the year due to quitting/layoff/firing right before December 14

Before such news, I think there is no question that any person employed in a company that provides matching contribution, he should definitely contribute up to the percentage to receive all those matchings. Now it becomes a bit debatable… though I can see someone may argue, if the employee plans to stay the whole year, contribute to get the matchings. Anyways… It’s important to keep an eye on this and give it some thoughts because IBM is a pioneer in setting the trend for this kind of policy change so stay tune to other companies to follow suit. Just 9% of companies has said policy now.

Outside of the changes mentioned above, if a company is still providing matching contribution, it still makes sense to contribute to receive those.

This goes to show that we should not make 401k our only tool in planning our retirement but instead, treat it as a supplamentary tool. We must combine it with saving and investment plans using our own smart and diligence.

Originally posted 2013-01-10 23:12:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Rampant Fear in the Market

So the Congress and the President passed the bail out bill after all. Remember my prediction? I’m goooooooooood. Naw, just kidding. I could just as well be wrong.

So after the news hit the wall, surprisingly… or not so surprisingly, the market went DOWN. What the heck? Does that even make sense?

“We really really need this bail out bill!”
“Please pass the bail out bill to save our investment!”
“Well, here you go…”
“Shit, wait! Maybe we don’t really want this. Oh shit…”
“I think we are screwed either way.”
*thud*

Actually, it does. There is always one thing that drives the stock market and that contributes very much to the short-term volatility — human emotions. And the way the market has been moving lately, it shows one strong feeling that everyone has — fear. Fear of an unknown but tragic future. The analogy I will draw is… sheeps!

What we have now is a herd of sheep that is completely frightened by a thunder that they think is coming and is stampeding. They are trying to run away but there really is no where to run. Though a herder can try to stop them, which is the government tries to do with the bail out bill, it will have small immediate effect. We will have to give some time and effort for the fear to subside and the herd to calm down. During the stampede, some of the sheeps died. Some have gotten injured. The stronger ones are just fine. Those end up with wounds will take time to heal. The stronger ones will thrive. This is no different than our market and economy.

Heck, part of this strong fear could be intentionally amplified by the stronger ones for their own benefit — to be able to buy things on bargains — like big sheeps eating small sheeps. On second thought, this sounds quite atrocious, but it is how it is.

So far, I am still sticking with my strategy with buy and hold and have not sold anything out of fear. In fact, I have been putting hundreds here and there into my Vanguard funds.

Here is the way I see it.

Yes, there is a worse scenario that the market will tank for a long time. But in that case, it will still recover in the long run. No, it is not fun to watch my portfolio dives. However, I am patient and during that time, I will just worry about feeding myself and my future family. Maybe just myself, haha. I will also try to grow my capacity, which includes saving up to await opportunity. Time is on my side as I am 25.

Yep, there is the worst scenario where the U.S. market completely collapses, U.S. dollars become worthless, and I will have lost everything. Civil war or revolution of some sort may happen in the U.S. But in this case, I really have way more serious problem to deal with. Like fighting for food and water, staying alive, or getting the heck out of the country.

Now lastly, there is the not-so-bad scenario where the market will recover in a year or two or three… and runs its cycle like it has in the past. And this scenario, my friends, is what I am betting on.

Fear? Yes, I have it too. I just don’t let my emotions drive me. My awareness allows my perception and logic be the driver.

Here is how I always try to act:

  • Observe situation *simply*
  • Evaluate possible scenarios (best case, worst case, the most probable case)
  • Make decision to the best of my ability (a bet? that’s why life is a gamble)
  • Face and observe the consequence *simply*
  • Go back to step one

Originally posted 2008-10-03 14:21:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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