Arbitary Obsessionist's Blog : Ambition is redundant. In life, mission is everything.

Archive for the ‘Feelings’ Category

You have to run your own race

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I got an automated mail this morning from Robin Sharma, which talked about ‘the best advise (I) had ever got’. One of them was that you have to run your own race.

My thoughts…

Due to cultural conditioning, we are hardwired to look outside for validation. Our definitions of success and failure are what society wants it to be. And it is pretty hard not to compare yourself with others. External comparison is convenient. It is easier to have benchmarks which are not within our control than those which may be within us. And reason for this is that introspection is tough. It is tough to take a call about what exactly is your personal definition of success; which race are you running; whom are you running against?

And worst part is that it is possible that you are good at something that society considers to be good. But it may not necessarily be good for you. It may not be in synch with your values, beliefs and general purpose of existence. What then happens is that you blindly follow this path of hollow success and end up realizing that though you did climb the ladder successfully, it was the wrong wall (!)

Another danger of social definition of success is that if you measure your success relative to how everyone else is doing you will probably end up far below your potential.

So you need to remember that…

Your life is your own. You have to choose your own race. You have to choose your opponents. Even if it means that you are your only opponent. Atleast you would be running the race on your own terms. It is better to fail at one’s own race than win at someone else’s.

Some questions to help you ponder over this thought –

  • With whom are you competing against?
  • Where has this race taken you?
  • Are you happy with where you have reached?
  • Was the answer to above question dependent on what others think of you?
  • Are you running the best race for you?
  • Or are you running someone else’s race better than they are?

And your life should not end with saying – I have finished first at their race.

It should rather end with – I have finished my race. (Position is redundant).


Written by Dev

April 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm


with 2 comments

This is a guest post by my dear friend Nitesh. After 20+ years of our friendship and 5 years of this blog, I have finally convinced him to do a post on Objectivism. A topic close to both of us. Read on…

Objectivism is a philosophy grounded in rationality. Fundamentally, it says that man is better off if he is grounded in what is real, what exists, as opposed to his sense of what ought to be. To break it down even further, it says that:

  • There are things in this world that are constant.
  • There are characteristics of human nature that are constant.
  • The best way to live is with respect for these constants, whether or not they seem fair and just. It is only then can man, and in turn, society, reach his highest potential.

Now, let’s look at what the philosophy specifically says. There are four tenents of objectivism:

Objective Reality

Wishing won’t make it so

Facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, hopes, wishes, or fears.


You can’t eat your cake and have it too

Reason is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action.


Man is an end in himself

Man must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral-purpose of his life.


Give me liberty or give me death

The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another as traders by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. There should be a complete separation of state and economics. The government only exists as a policeman that protects man’s rights.


Still following? I know objectivism can be a brainful. So let’s look at some examples of objectivism in real life.


Your girlfriend/boyfriend breaks up with you. Even if you wish it weren’t so, the fact would still remain. Your wishes, hopes won’t change the fact that he/she has broken up with you.


If you jump from an 85 storey building onto hard concrete, what’ll happen? The laws of physics dictate that you’ll be dead. But, if you believe in Spiderman, another answer could be that he’ll protect you. The laws of physics are proven, the existence of Spiderman isn’t. So objectivism recommends not jumping. Act on logic, not your faith in superheroes.


You are a fresh mechanical engineering graduate. You have the choice of joining Ferrarri as their next hotshot engineer. You also have the choice of working on UNICEF’s child vaccination awareness program. You really want the Ferrarri job, but your parents want you to join UNICEF. Which one should you choose? If you’re an objectivist, you’ll just do what you want.


Let’s say you are indeed hired by Ferrarri. Should the government dictate what your salary should be, or should you and Ferrarri be free to negotiate it? Per objectivism, it should be latter. Governments should allow free, voluntary trade between individuals and institutions.

Does it make a little bit more sense?

Now, of course, the big question is – how good is objectivism as a philosophy. More importantly, is it my philosophy of choice? Well, that’s for another day, maybe. For now, I would like the readers to form their own opinions on objectivism. To help them with this process, I pose the following questions:

  • What does objectivism mean for religion?
  • Is the progress that we have made as a society (assuming we have) a function of altruism or self-interest of individuals?
  • What happened to countries that are/were not capitalistic?
  • Can man really think rationally?
  • What is self-interest?

Answers to these questions are necessary to debate the pros and cons of objectivism and conclude if it should be the philosophy of choice for our society. So, start thinking!

Written by Dev

March 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm

2011 in Bullets

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Like 2009, my brain’s audit department has forced me to conduct an elaborate year end audit. But laziness got the better of me and I could only manage a few bullet points –

  1.  Like 2009 (when I traveled around 28,000 Kilometers), 2011 saw me traveling for around 25,900 kilometers (Yes. I keep a kilometer by kilometer account of my travels). I traveled to around 13 cities which included a few never-before-visited ones like Amritsar,Bikaner, Ranthambore, Barmer & Wagah (Attari).

Wagah & Amritsar

  1. In June, I once again became unemployed & unbalanced as I decided to pursue higher studies.
  2. After spending close to 3 years in dry deserts of Thar, a move to Mumbai with its random downpours was quite an experience.
  3. After many years I experienced 0 degrees Celsius (in Amritsar). I also experienced temperatures above 50 degrees! (Read about the experience here).
  4. Started another strangely named blog for my financial rants – Essential Associate Aktiengesellschaft….. And closed it for some personal reasons 😦
  5. Received a prize from talented travel blogger, Shivya of Shooting Star fame in celebration of her 200th post.
  6. I struggled throughout 2011 to revive my reading habit. Currently I have around 5-6 books which are waiting for me to lay my hands on them. 😉
  7. For me, Rockstar’s Nadaan Parindey is song of the year.

As far as 2012 is concerned, I have decided not to keep any specific resolutions. I just hope that Mayan prophecy (of doomsday on 21-12) is proven wrong and we get to see another 22-12.

Happy New Year.

Written by Dev

December 31, 2011 at 2:07 am

Where are we heading?

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While reading today’s newspaper, I read my horoscope after a gap of many months. Thankfully, it had all things worth reading and it seemed that life this week would be ‘worth living’. But just below the horoscope, I came across a news item titled “In UP husband elopes and woman is paraded naked” (Read the entire story here). I read the story and was shell shocked!

Are we bloody barbarians?

How can you treat a woman like that?

Why should a woman be punished for her husband’s mistakes? And that too in a manner like that!

Where exactly are we heading?

Written by Dev

October 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Feelings

Tagged with , , , ,

Decision analysis in parallel universes

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Performance should never be measured by end results, but by cost of alternatives. i.e., what would have happened, if during the course of a process (for which the performance is to be judged), just one event had not happened in the way it actually did? What would have happened if atleast one of the events decided to take a different course?

You wouldn’t be wrong to say that I am referring to MultiVerse (Multiple Possible Universes). In which, the only difference between 2 logically ‘adjacent’ universes is one event. For simpler understanding, read the next few lines –

Look back and think of a particular juncture of your life, when you had to make an important decision. You obviously have an idea about what you decided. Now, assume that you had taken an altogether different decision at that moment. How would have things changed after that? What course would have your life taken after that? Where are you in your life and where ‘could’ you have been?

This leads us to deduce that the life we are living right now is one of the many possible ones. Even Bhagvad Purana (a Hindu scripture) has a similar take on the issue–

The countless universes, each enveloped in its shell, are compelled by the wheel of time to wander within you, like particles of dust blowing about in the sky. The śrutis, following their method of eliminating everything separate from the Supreme, become successful by revealing You as their final conclusion.

Decision Making in Parallel Universes

The post is neither meant to be judgemental of anyone’s decisions nor a way to prompt others to start evaluating their past lives. Past is past. Period.

The post is more of a Lazy–Sunday–Morning-Loud-Thinking.

PS – “Far more than our abilities, it is our choices that show what we truly are” (Albus Dumbledore)

Written by Dev

August 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Reading bug was bitten by me and I was poisonous that day…

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There was a time, when in middle of somewhere (or anywhere), a simple question to an unassuming acquaintance of mine –

 “What is Dev doing?”

would have resulted in a simple answer – “Must be reading, what else?”

That was about a year back.

The scene has completely changed and as of today, I struggle to finish even a single book! At times I end up starting with 2 or 3 books within days of each other and eventually, am unable to finish even one of them! Though I can give quite valid and apt justification(s) for this evil deed of neglecting my unread books, I would avoid doing so.

Sometimes, justifications lead to repetition of deeds for which the justification is being given.

Seems like the reading bug has been bitten by me and I was poisonous that day…

Said No to Reading

Said No to Reading

Ironically, I did a post in mid 2009 stating that I was caught in a permanent state of Reading Flu! 😦

Written by Dev

June 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm

If years were words…

with 16 comments

If years were mere words, then which ones, would aptly describe the main event or essence of all the past 26 years of my life?

An effort –

1985- At 12.5 pounds, I was one of the heaviest non-meteors to have hit this planet

1986- [Blurred Memory]

1987- The pain of getting my little finger sewn by a sewing machine!

1988- Joining the assembly line popularly known as school

1989- [Blurred Memory]

1990- [Blurred Memory]

1991- Living alone for the first time

1992- Witnessing the first death

1993- Got recognized for my ‘beautiful’ writing [I still don’t agree]

1994- Realizing that even I could be a non-bad-student

1995- Most probably, I saw a ghost!

1996- That Blue-Yellow Sweden Cap

1997- It took me 12 years and 500 kilometers to see a mountain for the first time

1998- New friends and new (dirtier) outlooks 😉

1999- Shortening and renaming the most recognizable thing

2000- Crowning glory to a very close friendship

2001- First tryst with glory and joy of failures

2002- Saved from the jaws of death

2003- Unexpected glory (or wtf)

2004- Where to go and what the hell to do?

2005- Over-optimism combined with ego is poisonous

2006- Climbing Mt. Pessimism and staying there for almost an year

2007- Sister’s marriage & joys of ranking everything

2008- Transition from nothingness to wilderness to substantial-ness

2009- Year long paid vacation covering more than 28,000 Kms

2010- Finding the meaning of a few abstract things

2011- The abruptness of change was like a life-quake

Written by Dev

May 19, 2011 at 11:25 pm