Ask Vinni

Longer, well researched posts primarily focused on philosophy, psychology and self improvement. Topics I've mulled over for weeks. Irregularly updated.

 

Essays and other writings

Shorter, weekly articles on principles and thoughts that have been in my mind for a couple of days. Contradictory and rough, evolving as I do.

Onism

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“I just feel like there’s not enough time to do everything I’d want to.”

This was a sentence smack down in the middle of an email I received from a good friend a few days ago. I think it’s something we can all relate to. It’s difficult to find time to do everything when there are so many interesting and exciting opportunities popping up everywhere we go. For someone just starting their 20s, the world can be a little scary even. We can get paralyzed by the sheer amount of possibilities we have. What to study, where to study, whether or not to study… Those are all things constantly in our minds. Maybe taking another gap year is the smart thing to do. Maybe then, if we wait a year more, we’ll be absolutely sure of what we want and things will be easier. Maybe then we’ll be a little more grown up, more responsible, things will be clearer.

Well I’m actually very happy to say that that’s not the case more often than not. I started writing that “I hate to say it” but deleted it because I don’t hate to say it. I think that’s wonderful.

As I replied to the email, “I think there’s a certain beauty to it, that we get to choose.” That we have to choose, even. If we had all the time in the world, if doing everything there is to do were possible, life would be a lot less interesting. People would be a lot less interesting.

We’re composed of everything we’ve experienced. Of every conversation we’ve had. Of every book we’ve read. Of everything we’ve done. If people didn’t need to choose, if they could do everything there’s to be done, why would we need to communicate? Why would we need to exchange ideas, to live in a society even?

It’s always a pleasure to come across people who agree with me, to come across people who will nod and say “that’s what I’ve been saying all along.” That makes for great friendships, of course. However, if there’s one thing I like much more than that, it’s to come across someone who won’t agree with me on almost anything. To come across someone who will shake their head and say “no, I see it differently.” If the whole world were made of people who went through the same experiences, life would be boring.

There’s no way to see how each of our choices will impact our future, the only thing we can do is choose what sounds more fun, interesting or what we think will lead us to where we wanna go. Maybe the path is completely different from what we thought, but it was a choice, and we made it. There’s no objective best choice on what to do with our lives. What defines us is what we make out of our experiences.

I said to my friend that “there’s a certain beauty to that, we can only explore so much, we can only see so much, so it’s our utmost duty to fill these things with as much meaning as we can. To stand by our choices and to not waste time regretting it or thinking that ‘we should have done it differently.’”

I’m proud of who I am and I’m proud of where I stand today. I do wish I had done a few things differently in the past, but ultimately, having done things differently might not have put me here, now.

So stop wasting your time regretting and start walking. The path becomes clearer and clearer, choose, and make the most of each situation life gives you. After all, you only live once (I’m so, so sorry).

Sharpness of Mind

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Recent research for my “The Way of the Warrior” series has led me to, among many things, intensify my training routine and dedicate myself more and more to my workouts.

In reading more deeply about the history of warriors—from rise to fall—I’ve realized that, although there are many things that contributed to their failures, the biggest one in almost every single instance was when they stopped fighting.

What? So you’re saying that war is actually good?

Open your Curtains

 

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I still remember when I was a kid, I would often spend an entire afternoon inside playing video games. I don’t think that’s unusual for someone who went through his teens during the 21st century. Of course the light from the sun would make it difficult to see the screen properly, so almost every day I would close all the curtains and blinds in the apartment when getting home from school. I didn’t want anything getting in the way of me beating that Age of Empires campaign.

Personal Development

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“Hold yourself to the highest standard you can and watch the improvement pour as you struggle to reach it.”
—Ryan Holiday

I talk, think about and do a lot of personal development. I like to change, evolve and become a better person, but sometimes I forget exactly in which ways I’m looking to develop myself. It’s easy to say we should “be the best version of ourselves” without really knowing what that entails.

The great thing is that we get to decide what the best version of ourselves is. Anything we do is a choice, so in a day we might realize we have time to either work out or read. We might be able to either learn a new craft or a new professional skill, and ultimately those things shape who we are and who we become. I’m neither wise nor stupid, I’m someone looking to learn. I’m neither in the best shape I possibly could nor overweight, I’m training every day to improve. There are things I could be doing instead of reading or working out. I could be writing for more hours a day than I do, I could be dedicating more time to my studies than I do.

Each and every person has the same amount of potential, what separates us as people is to which extent we can put this potential into the world. I would argue that anyone, and I do mean anyone, has the potential to near the top 5% of at least one particular activity, which is of course defined by their natural inclinations and opportunities. What gives us problems is forgetting that. What gives us the most trouble is choosing poorly and laying in bed with our smartphones all day and eating frozen pizza instead of getting up and learning to cook. It’s mindlessly surfing reddit instead of reading a book. It’s not choosing how we spend our time wisely.

We have very little time in this world. Our current culture is so disconnected from the idea of death that most don’t realize they will even die, until it hits a loved one (who even then will probably pass away in a hospital, away from everyone). Who can feel motivated to use their time in such a situation? When we all think we’re invincible?

It’s not our thoughts that shape who we are, it’s our actions. What we do today defines who we’ll be tomorrow. It’s only worth it to wonder about our futures and or who we could be as long as we also take actions today to become that person, to have that life we dream of.

Clarity in our thoughts is important, but I make a stronger case for clarity in our actions.

Being Grateful

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I’ve had a few major changes in my life. By that I mean not only that external circumstances changed, but also that (and perhaps even more frequently than the former) something within me changed.

Some of my external changes were moving to different countries, cities, landing jobs and meeting people. As for my internal ones, they’re a little harder to pin down. Maybe because I don’t know myself as well as I would like to, or simply because whatever is internal is often harder to define due to its nature; we can’t see or touch those changes.

The most recent one, however, is quite easy to define: I learned how to be grateful.

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