The Economic Alchemist

Oxygen Volume 14

We humans are undoubtedly the most restless, anxious, unreasonably paranoid earthlings today.  This is both a boon and a curse. If we are to accept life the way it comes and settle down to believing what we receive is what we deserve; versus, quenching the thirst for finding answers; would we ever improvise? Most likely we would not. On the contrary, will the questions ever end? and will we ever be satisfied by the answers? Irrespective of the magnitude of intellect we collect there is still a void within each one of us that is hard to fill. Fortunately, few of us have the ability to recognize that void while the others are happy in their ignorance. In many ways economics is not only a mathematical approach to solve this dismal way of living but is also an intuitive approach to bring order to the chaos. Reference the water-diamond paradox; we all know that water is more important to us than diamonds, yet we pay a fortune to owe the latter. The demand and supply curve of both the commodities clearly determine the desire to owe the latter over the former. Similarly, answers to what make us question our belief system and our true purpose of existence is scarce and the distractions are plenty. Making the distractions a mere necessity and the tools to self actualization a desirable commodity. A commodity so highly thought about, that even Maslow had to put it on the higher tier of the pyramid. Imagine a world where we can bring down self actualization to the most basic need. A world where we can breakeven between hope and reality; integrity and competition; and above all love and ownership. A world with no barriers, where no tariffs apply on exchanging ideas, and where dreams are not taxed. An economic free trade zone for human interactions. We can create this world by suppressing the fear to question and paraphrasing all the answers the universe offers in its infinite ways. It is easy to create a world where commodities are given their real value and not valued on the basis of their perceived worth. Just like any other creation this world needs a creator too. There is a creator in each one of us hiding behind the sheets comfortably tuck in its own bubble of assumptions and social dogma. The creation in its entirety is whole only when it surpasses the creators inception. Just like any other creation this world will need a welder too. Having said that, the question now becomes – are you ready to be the Alchemist?

#economics, #lifestyle, #thealchemist

Curiosity killed the Cat, or not?

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Most of us at some situation have used the idiom “curiosity killed the cat” I don’t know about you but I always believed it and used it on others many times. Why not? It sounds grammatically right and I am not a cat fan so I really don’t care about who killed the cat. But now that I am older and wiser (at least I like to believe so) I am beginning to question the authenticity of this famous idiom.

This really charming man and I were beginning to converse a lot and just like how dating has traditionally worked we were in our discovery phase, where we kept asking each other questions trying to learn more about our likes, dislikes and you know the usual. It was all great until he started asking too many questions. And mostly personal. I am a modern woman and I do not get judgmental about people easily but there is something about us women and topics regarding our weight, past relationships and personal hygiene that makes us extremely conscious. Even though if the other person meant to ask us something in the most casual manner when it comes to topics like these we hit the panic button and start judging in the most creative way possible. Guess we are just wired that way, at least I am.

So when this guy started asking me questions about my past relations, what I liked and disliked, how and where I shared moments with my partners and you know all that jazz, I realized that I did not find him charming anymore. I was rather annoyed. I like talking to men about their deepest fears, their life stories, their dreams and all that beautiful things that constitutes to our existence. I was bound to be turned off and disappointed by his questions.  So I finally broke the ice and asked him why he was getting too tangential to the topic and how it mattered. His response was then “oh, I was just curious”

There! Like an explosion in my mind, I spaced out into a thought process. Curious! This is an interesting adjective. Just like any other matured adult, I googled the word.

curious

Cu.ri.ous (adj.)

1) eager to know or learn something

2) strange; unusual

The synonyms that caught my attention: bizarre, queer, unorthodox.

Okay, so it makes sense he was eager to know about my preferences which by the way are subjected to change. He was probably just trying to observe a pattern, understand my preferences and probably re-create the same to make me feel comfortable. Though I would like certain things to remain in the dark and be discovered as we progress in a relationship naturally, Id still give him the credit for the attempt – wish he was better articulate though. So then is curiosity bad? Sounds like it could do good stuff for you. Why did it kill the cat?

No one really knows for sure who and in what context cited the quote originally. But the most famously referred to story is about how this cat called Blackie attempted to leave home and climb a wall for the first time, panicked and died. So now this brings me to the conclusion that it was not really curiosity it was a lack of preparation, planning, and resources that killed silly Blackie. If Blackie was prepared, climbed its way up gradually, then he/she could possibly have enjoyed the new discovered capability and would have gotten a great reward for its curiosity. It could have been – Curiosity rewarded the Cat!

Now that I made the short story long for you, here is your takeaway, if you are really interested in discovering something/someone better watch out for the possible outcomes and be prepared for the unexpected. Observe how someone reacts to certain questions, gauge their responses by their voice, body language and other physical cues. Study previous outcomes, calculate your probabilities and then make your move. It is good to be curious but only if you are prepared for it. Also, why be curios about something that will add absolutely no value to you, why not instead invest your time and energy on something more substantial to you. Curiosity demands certain preparation too, genius!

“Curiosity is one of the lowest of the human faculties. You will have noticed in daily life that when people are inquisitive they nearly always have bad memories and are usually stupid at bottom” – E Morgan Forster.

Pay attention to what Forster said, the next time you are “curious” about something / someone hold your horses, take a deep breath, do not jump into the situation. Prepare, Plan, and then Pursue. Don’t screw it up like my Mr. Charming and don’t die like Blackie!

#cat, #curiosity, #emotions, #lifestyle, #planning, #relationships

SEX – Pleasure or Pressure?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA If you hear someone say “I don’t enjoy sex” or “I don’t feel like it” we all know that it’s a lie! But then, there is some amount of truth behind every lie. I am amongst those fancy people who can’t just have sex but have to involve in the process of making love, and there is definitely a lot of difference between the two. In-fact I believe one can make love to their partner without having sex at all. Sounds pretty darn insane and ridiculous, huh? Well let’s talk about it….

Why do people have sex with their partners, is it just to satisfy their biological necessity or is it beyond – like a way of communicating with your partner to show trust, loyalty, and dependence. Unity between two bodies can establish a celestial connection and absolute bliss. Instead, what happens in reality is a thud from the dream of that divine experience and being woken up to the harsh reality of performance pressure and matching expectations.

We are raised with this constant dose of values that teaches us to respect our fellow-humans, to be sensitive and understanding. But what is it about sex that makes many of us judgmental, selfish, and disrespectful. For a very long time I have struggled in keeping a good relationship because the man has always dropped the big “are you ready” question, and in all honesty it freaks me out, still does. This might sound very un-usual to a lot of people, but there are many out there like me who have a very low sexual desire and might turn out to become asexual too. Isn’t it unfair how a person can be amazing at all levels and satisfy every requirement to become an ideal partner, but the moment he/she fails to perform in the act the relationship is called off!

Case-in-point sex has made our relationships very fragile, it is easier to break up with someone today than it was earlier. People involve in crime, cause domestic violence and restore to all sorts of crazy practices in-order to satisfy their needs. Sex is no longer special, or important it has been evolved to a point of becoming routine, mechanical, and to a great extent even experimental. The number of physically and mentally assaulted victims waiting in line for a treatment is alarmingly increasing by the day. People criticize, judge and humiliate their partners for not matching their expectations – how is this making us any different from animals? So is sex really for pleasure or just an ego boost at the cost of potentially crushing your partner’s self-esteem.

Our sexual preferences are changing like nobody’s business. Our needs have become so specific that we have evolved from being a person to being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual. Our level of patience has gone down so drastically, we want our coffee in seconds, food in minutes, get new body parts within days and similarly we want sex immediately. Not many believe in waiting anymore because a quickie is better than a no quickie, right? Who cares about finding that one person who can make it worth the wait – the poor soulmate must be stuck in a tree somewhere.

I have friends who are asexual and are absolutely happy. They do not need sex to sustain their relationship, neither are they any less happy if compared to a traditional couple. I am not intending to say that sex is bad and that it should be kept out of a relationship, but the relationship itself deserves to be given a chance. To be able to fall in love with a person and to understand their deepest fears, regrets and to be able to romance a person and treat them in all equality is what makes the experience truly pleasurable and maybe-just-maybe magical.

 

 

#adulthood, #lifestyle, #love, #sex

Commodity With A Blank Price Tag

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To forecast is science or an art? How does our instinct to determine the future of any relationship work, and do we have a constant set of parameters? We all have that one or more special person in our lives we are dearly fond of, so much so that, one wrong move between the two and in a flip second we dishonor the time we cherished with that person and easily break ties. This person could be your best friend, mentor, business partner, colleague, crush, companion, anyone, even a dog maybe. Why is it that we get so judgmental about people and situations? Because of an argument we might have with someone once, or because of something he/she said that might have been hurtful, how is it that it is so easy for us to say “enough” and “to move on” and why is it so tough to take the initiative to break the ice? are we beginning to procrastinate people and relationships as well?

From my years of management experience my mind is only filled with targets, numbers and ways to become more productive, my job has consumed me so much that I begin to look at relationships also from an analytical perspective and people as the subject to my case study. Gone are those innocent days when I would feel a weird sensation in my stomach and skip heart beats while spending time with my date. Well I still do feel that weird sensation in my stomach (and occasional skipping of heartbeats frequently because of Tom Hanks or Eminem) but mostly because of hunger, I prefer meeting a date for dinner or lunch instead of hanging out at the mall or playing arcade. Because, if the date does not match expectations – the meal will. If the meal does not – dessert will. The odds of a bad cheesecake on a bad day is probably one in infinity.

I find it extremely fascinating how we are all so well programmed to thinking in a certain way once we begin to experience adulthood. We hate our best friend because he/she gets more attention, we hate that cousin because he/she earns more, we hate our job because the boss is a joke on humanity. But how many of us sit back and reminisce about the good times we spent with that friend, so what if he/she is now getting more attention, aren’t you still tagged along? Why do we hate that cousin in spite of how much we love the food? and wait aren’t we supposed to be thankful to our employer for providing to us? the dough with which we pay off for all our monthly luxuries, but instead we abuse our employers. Yes, the boss is always cranky, yes the lead is bias and yes there are times when you are not paid in-time or are not appreciated for a good job. But isn’t there a reason why we all have choices? We have the choice to leave that employer and part ways. Instead, we like to stick around and crib, because we know it is “good for the resume” probably that is why we take quick, hasty and often impulsive decisions with regards to our relationships because our friends, lovers and family do not get us that million-dollar job, hence why work on something that is not a resume builder.

I take a minute and think about my day before I go to sleep or while I am still on bed when I wake up. I think and smile and feel thankful for all that I experience, the people I met and places I see – good and bad. Just to think positive and let go of the negativity towards a person can not only save you a relationship but I believe is time saving too. We spend hours texting, emailing and writing on social media of how someone hurt you so bad, and of how upset you are, instead of just trying to recollect all the good the person has done for you and the good the job enables you to do, instead of writing all that jazz to people only if you wrote a simple thank you to that person it will take you lesser than a minute – unless the person was really a jerk then all powers to you!

If today gratitude was sold in a store, I am sure it would be amongst the most niche products. If school taught gratitude, students would love taking this class because it is an easy subject. As a lover of economics I would say gratitude is that commodity you know can easily be imitated and even substituted against, with a demand way higher than the supply. Perhaps, a commodity with a blank price tag.

#adulthood, #emotions, #gratitude, #lifestyle, #sociallife, #thankyou

The Institute Of Marriage

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This last couple of days the only topic I seem to discuss with my girlfriends is about weddings. We are a group of very independent, charming and smart women, yet we have our moments of jealousy and insecurity at the thought of all the other women around us getting married except for us. What is it about marriages that make us women so thrilled and weak at the same time?

I have guy friends who tell me that I feel insensitive about the whole concept of a wedding because I have never experienced love strong enough for it to lead into a concrete relationship. I give this a thought very often, and every time I think about how my wedding would be – I’d only picture silk, expensive Egyptian cotton and a private gathering. And then suddenly I realize that I barely think about the groom! I mean isn’t it important to have a groom for your wedding?!

I frequently hear the soft voice within me say that “you are too independent to be loved, men like taking care of women and you don’t let them do that” to that the quirky voice from my head says “I do not need a companion to take care of me, I experience abundance of love, affection and importance from my family, my friends, my mentors and my acquaintance” the only time I perhaps feel the absence of a companion is when I feel physically needy. I do not want to sound like the person your mom hates! but I do believe in the fact that there is nothing wrong with sharing a physical relationship if a mutual comfort is established. Why is it that most of us come with a tag of commitment and emotional dependence the moment we share a physical moment with someone?

Just like many other women I have been subjected to the fear of social disapproval, I have been scared of being judged and being labelled. But as I grow older and get better professionally and am being successful in maintaining healthy relationships with the few friends I have had for a very long time, I realize that I can no longer play by the rules. I can no longer restrain myself from experiencing beautiful horizons just because I am afraid of the society not approving of it. I love men but I love my independence more. I have no problem with the idea of getting married, but what I do have a problem with is, the grandeur involved, I have a problem with inviting people we never see in years, spending thousands of money on clothes we will never wear again and taking vows with a man who is to play host for the rest of our lives. Will all those people visit me if my marriage is going through a tough phase? I doubt…

I was talking in similar lines with a dear friend the other day, and I told him that I might not see myself as a wife or as a daughter-in-law but I do see myself as a mother. I told him that my biggest fear of not being married is that I might miss the opportunity of being a parent. I also told him that maybe in the next five years it will not matter anymore, that I could be a mother whether or not I have a husband. We discussed about how there are many women who have taken this path, and have become a mother clinically or by adopting a child. My friend had a very valid point of why it is important for a child to experience the affection of complete parenthood, both from a mother and a father, I mostly agree but I still have times of disagreement, perhaps I am being too selfish or I am scared that I will never find Mr Right.

Why is it that women like me who are in their late 20s and are unmarried feel pressurized and are subjected to around the clock scrutiny? Has the concept of wedding become too institutionalized, too commercial and a mere act of self-validation? And do they really live happily ever after?

#adulthood, #commitment, #emotions, #lifestyle, #relationships, #wedding

The True Mirror

Woman Looking at Reflection

What if I told you that the reflection of yourself you see every time you stand in front of a mirror is not the real you. Do you remember how sometimes in the trial room at the shopping mall, you look unusually disproportionate, or your nose looks beaten? Raise your hands if you are like me – often wondering why the dress looks so different at home or why it doesn’t look as good anymore.

John Walter saw himself accidentally when the medicine cabinet mirror joined at 90 degrees to the backwards bathroom mirror in front of him, and what he saw was very disturbing. He saw that the smile which he thought was his asset looked fake. Since, then he created and developed – what he called “the true mirror” when two mirrors are placed at a right angle there is no image correction. His optical precision became viral, and ever since then, museums, art galleries, engineers, designers and of course the retailers, they all wanted a true mirror!

I got an opportunity to look at myself in a true mirror, and, honestly, I was aghast! Knowing the fact that the image a true mirror shows is extremely accurate and is how in reality one is perceived, made me wonder, of how big a hypocrite I have been to myself.

I thought of all the times I practiced that smile, front of my mirror, until it was perfect enough, that smile is not the same to the other person. It is diluted and surreal. The hours of practice that went into striking that perfect posture while addressing a crowd, went in vain, because that is not the image the audience saw. But, then I told myself – “hey wait a minute, if the smile was not the same and the oratory skills displayed was not as practiced, who were they all applauding for?”

For the real me! For the real me, that I could not suppress in spite of all the self-talk, comparisons and pressure. The pressure of looking good, speaking sense, and feeling wanted has consumed the real us, and we choose to portray ourselves as the person the rest of the world wants to see. And sometimes we get so carried away by people pleasing, so much, so that, we need a true mirror to wake us up.

The question to be asked is, do we have the courage to be the person we truly are? I have tried and I have failed. Every time I have tried to be the person I truly am, I have either lost a friend, hurt someone, and come across as arrogant. The real me – does not like to be surrounded by people, highly despises sarcasm and is extremely passive. But, would I be successful at work and school, would I be popular among people with those qualities? Not in the world I know!

Many-a-times it becomes imperative to habituate and adopt qualities which might not be a part of our core belief system, but it is what is required to get the job done or to feel involved. However, it is important that in due process, one does not become a stranger to oneself. I have times when I am completely blunt and times when I am selfless and can go to any extent to see the other person smile. It all narrows down to being able to balance ourselves in flesh and alter ego.

I believe that the greatest minds are not always the ones who choose the path not taken, but, the one to portray the unusual as approachable and as right as the obvious. There is immense charm and mystique the natural us possesses which can never be matched or taught by any personality trainer or well-being instructor. In different walks of life, people come and go, and the ones who remain are only those who recognize your true nature and admire you for who you truly are and not for the thick skin you portray. Perhaps, the reason why Maslow placed self-actualization on top of the pyramid. All it takes is one opportunity, to not be judgmental to yourself and to allow the natural you to live. And that one moment is all that it takes, to determine your career projection, your real friends, your love and most importantly it gives you the courage to accept the person in your eyes – your very own true mirror!

 

#conscience, #lifestyle, #selfimage, #truemirror

12 Signs How I Realized That I Have Gotten Old

This past week was phenomenal, with a lot of progress in my professional and personal life. So, I decided to take a moment and relax before I switched on my brain and start working on my blog. In that brief moment, I thought of all the events that occurred in my life recently, and the experiences I was alone responsible for. It is funny how I realized that my lifestyle had changed gradually since the last 1 to 2years and the change has so far been pleasant and self rediscovering. I told myself that it must be the age, the voice from within acknowledged, I smiled and instantly knew what this weeks blog would be about.

So here are the signs that made me realize I have gotten old and hopefully – wise 🙂

1. Finally can understand my father’s Wall Street and Investment Banking jokes

2.Spend unusual amount of time talking to family, usually about important issues like successful bargaining at the farmers market and not so important issues like personal finance

3.Tea and thoughts is a better combination than Netflix and Chill

4.No longer invest in clothes, accessories and cosmetics, but, on bath products and fragrances

                   5.Developing an OCD for cleanliness and hygiene

6.Panic on not finding the diary with a to-do list for the day, while the cell phone is mostly lying under the couch, in the fridge or on the kitchen platform waiting to be discovered

7.Side braids are sexier than open hair and no makeup is the new makeup

8.Clubs and parties are scary but hiking into a forest is not

9.Finally realize that cooking is not too tough, it is pure science, a little art and lot of economics

10.Pink is just another color

11.Can switch from angel to mental in the speed of light

12.This one was the revelation – no longer shy to sing, dance and ROFLMAO  on my own humor in public!

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#adulthood, #growingup, #lifestyle, #signs