Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Pecuniary Anxiety

I am poor.

I have friends who started out at pretty much where I started, perhaps from a worse start, and they are far wealthier than I am.

It is painful to be in this situation. Perhaps if they'd "made it" - by rolling around in millions and millions - I'd be more philosophical. Such spectacular success is usually down to luck.

There was no luck in their stories. Not great luck anyway, just the usual run-of-the-mill lucky-to-be-alive luck! My friends are not "rolling in it"; they are self-made comfortable people. They may have passed the million mark, or they may have not (they won't tell, and it depends on the currency), the important thing is: they don't need to work anymore.

My sample of comfortable friends _chose_ to go after money from a young age. Within a year or two of their graduation, they'd angled for the high-paying jobs in the wealthy sectors, and in due course, with careful monitoring of their expenditures and savvy decision-making, they reaped the gradual rewards.

I was seen as someone with possibly more potential than them. Perhaps each had excellences that I could not match, but they certainly expected I was going to be very successful.

Unlike them, I chose a zero-paying initial career path. Afterwards, I chose to be a low-paid academic.

I did so because of my upbringing. Both my parents prized education and saw that its value was in civilising mankind, not in money-making. So, when one of my friends went after a well-paid job only for its money, I scorned his behaviour. And my father attacked me for not scorning him enough!

As it dawned on me that I was not getting the career I'd expected, rather than change it, I dug my heels in even more. It's paradoxical; it doesn't make sense except in my head.

But it hurts now. I sit with my peers and they're talking about their villas, their cars, "100 dollars - you know - nothing," and then they stop themselves.

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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Telling stories with you as hero

Your stories about yourself tell a lot about you. People listen to personal stories easily, naturally. So long as you do not inflate your stories to exaggerated boasts, or deflate them to excessive and irrational anxieties, people respond to you. They learn from the stories, and they also place you in their mental maps.

You may be skilled at picking the type of story that would place you somewhere favourable on pretty much anyone's mental map. But I am not.

So, I am going to start curating a "my stories" collection; a pick of the best from my life so far that will make anyone I tell the stories to, do whatever I want them to. Now that would be something. And it seems quite an easy task too.

But looking through my blog archive, I am already having doubts.

Let's start with the most common story of all: My Life So Far.

Age : Tagline
00-23: Fantastic, pretty pleased with it.
23-30: Fundamentally disappointing, but with some rays of light.
30-37: "Wet double espresso machiatto with whole milk please."

Oh dear. This is not a story that belongs in the collection.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Why the world's most advanced people are also its biggest suckers

Everybody ought to read this carefully and reflect: A $500 brand-name watch on the highstreets in the West, costs $50 in China - with healthy profit margin for Chinese manufacturer.

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