Will you wait to become commoditized or automated?

The whole physical realm of humanity goes through iterative cycles. We improve, we make mistakes, we learn and we go forward.

The improvement is proven and makes absolute sense when viewing our limited existence as a collective whole. I have not gone back to hunting gathering days, and neither have my close friends and family. I do not have physical existential challenges (danger from nature, life threatnening diseases) as my ancestors.

We’ve improved by leaps and bounds in the past 5000 years of recorded history.

However, none of us like change when it knocks on our doors. We love to view the change happening to “inefficient others” –

  • Cheaper clothes
  • Faster, better, good looking cars
  • Online utility bills
  • Customer self service through intelligent, automated systems

But, seldom associate that to –

  • Faster machines replacing humans
  • Faster design process using efficient software, higher automation
  • Replacement of the poor sod at the cash counter
  • Replacement of the poor sod at the call center and “customer service” counters

In each of the above cases, the hapless humans may be you or me. There are hundreds and thousands of ways to interpret what is happening around us, but there is a common underlying theme.

The work is being commoditized or being automated.

Commoditized and automated are two different things, but the underlying theme basically is the same – there are cheaper or efficient (if not both) ways of getting things done. They are to be taken as a sign of changing times, which by no way should be considered evil.

(Or, I may have lied – it may be a bit evil. Don’t you watch the movies?)

evil automation robot.png

 

Anywho, we will consider repurcussions of the bad AI later. To continue the train of thought that I had earlier – ws we move towards smarter machines, more novel ideas will present themselves for automation/commoditization.

So, what should the hitherto mentioned “poor sods” do? Should we be afraid of the future?Is humanity doomed in the all enlightened Watsons, Deep Minds and probably the Cortanas and Siris?

If you said “never”, and you should say “never” you dumb fellow, then congratulations – you represent all things human. The jobs created in the last hundred years, or the cubicles created in the last twenty years do not represent you and I.

The human spirit is being curious, finding the answer to the next big question and finding peace in the current moment. The world is a dizzyingly exciting puzzle of the physical, meta physical, philosophical, and everything in between.

What every human being has to do now is to just stop being afraid.

No matter what happens in the next two decades, and unless our worst dystopian nightmares come to life – we still do not go back to our hunter /gatherer days. Neither we need to start preparing our children to hunt deer, prepare for the next plague, or learn how to wield a knife properly (again, referring to the typical urban guys).

The need of the hour is to open the door to the change, give change an embarassing hand-shake and start dancing with it.

All you and I need to find is the small idea that can help us, and help others. And of course, it helps to follow that idea in action, continuously experiment through failures and successes, and persevere through all that.

Life is quite easy, boys and girls – go get that thing where you can create value yourself. The question that has to haunt you every moment of every day – “what did I do today that can help me in that pursuit”. Not each of those moments will be happy, I am sure, but all of them are well worth it.

It should never be a question of drifting to the next rotting branch, but to build a damn boat of all those branches and taking everyone and their dog for a ride (with all good intentions of course).

boat ride.jpg

I am

I am is not a thought, it just is.

 

It is but a thought that makes me recognize the similarities among what Mooji says here, what JK says (equally kindly I might add), and what UG says in a “i couldn’t care less” manner.

It is good to see so many things that “I” sort of identify myself with – conditioning of mind? religious stories? the Advaita making me talking?

Take your pick – but it is simple. I am fortunate to be here, and now.

 

When will you live the present?

 

After a long time,  I read something that I wanted to read again..

.. and again.

.. and so the story goes.

The words did hit me that hard.

The paragraph is simple enough –

You believe that creating your best possible life is a matter of deciding what you want and then going after it, but in reality, you are psychologicallyincapable of being able to predict what will make you happy.

Your brain can only perceive what it’s known, so when you choose what you want for the future, you’re actually just re-creating a solution or an ideal of the past.

Ironically, when said ideas don’t come to fruition (things never look the way we think they will) you suffer, because you think you’ve failed, when really, you’re most likely experiencing something better than you could have chosen for yourself at the time. 

 

I cannot help going through this statement in my mind without uttering a “wow..”. Head over to Soul Anatomy to read the rest of the story.

Is there *anything* in life that you don’t link to the past?

You project the past on your future and want that past moment. You want to feel the exhilaration that was the specific moment and want that to experience again.

Or..

You want the world that you have constructed for yourself to be realized. The happy future is your own concoction of ideas or projections of a glorious past, corrected to suit your whims of course. Nothing wrong there – except that you think that the eternal happiness is always one step ahead of you.

Either of the two is an effort in vain.

You are either regretting or reliving the past, or yearning for the future full of happiness.

The human nature has made the present immaterial. The present is looked at as a tiny thread that connects this big, glorious or horrifying, full-of-missed-opportunities past with the always uncertain, happiness-lies-ahead future.

And, there lies the problem. When, my dear reader, will you live the present?

Are you being sad while pursuing happiness?

Are you happy?

Immediately upon reading this question, you will be thrown into a turmoil.

  • You start pondering about recent happenings, and whether there is any cause for happiness
  • You think about all the past events – either it may be your success in education or job, marriage, birth or something that delighted you
  • You even think about your current goals that WILL make you the happiest person in this part of the known universe

All this is typical human behavior.

Unfortunately, all this is just the wrong notion of happiness.

problem of pursuing happiness

 

What is wrong with pursuing happiness?

You are taught from time immemorial to set your sights on “becoming successful”. You set goals for yourself in order to achieve this happiness.

Goals are necessary to plan your life. They help you remain motivated about today, and to make plans for tomorrow.

But, what a lot of us tend to do is treat goals as the pre-requisite for happiness. 

The problem is this “goal-based happiness”.

Let’s say you have the goal to earn five million dollars in three years.

You plan each step of the way to take steps towards your goal. You outline what you want to do every month for the next three years. You work really hard to earn, save, and earn some more.

If you are like the majority, you will also postpone today’s happiness. You justify that by thinking that as a necessary sacrifice for the tremendous joy of success waiting in the future.

And one fine day, you reach that five million magic number.

You are delighted that all your hard work has paid off. You pat your back for being focused, party a bit, share happiness with your near and dear, and feel exhilarated about living.

After two weeks, the achievement does not get you the same “kick”. You start drawing a bigger picture. Yes, you did “it”. And now, it is time to move on.

You just shift your goal posts. You now want ten million, a bigger house, a bigger car, or anything else that rocks your boat.

Goals give a purpose to life. By all means dedicate yourself towards that purpose. Strive towards your set objectives and get a kick out of achieving them. But, tagging your happiness to achievement will rid you of the joy of today.

You become too busy thinking about how happy or sad you will be with those goals. It is too easy to get worried about each passing moment and wondering whether that time has helped towards your objectives. You want to “postpone happiness” until the goal is achieved.

By doing that you fail today regardless of the success or failure that is tomorrow. You plan and measure your journey but don’t live in it.

journey towards success

 

Find happiness in the journey

This life is lived every moment.

You can spend “this moment” happy that you are inching towards your goal and excited about what life is teaching you now. Or, you could spend it in anxiety about success or failure and make that your life.

Targeting happiness at the end of achievement of a goal is horribly short-lived. It does give your moment of “true happiness” but sadly that lasts only moments. The real joy is to be found in the journey.

“Today” is a joyous occasion  –

  • since you succeeded
  • you failed and learnt a valuable lesson
  • you made small progress towards your goals or set the bar higher due to changing situations

Any or all of this make up your today and that’s what you got now. Learn to enjoy them, cherish them, and live them.

Condition yourself to be happy while you journey towards your defined successes. You enjoy your life better by tuning in today rather than planning that for some future day.

Accept Yourself to Find Peace

I came across this recent post on Reddit, where a 46 year old person called John confesses where he went wrong in life.

In summary, he feels that he threw away the beautiful life clinging to the safety of a 9-5 job.

The merits and mistakes of a job are safely dealt with later, but what matters here is the human feeling.

You feel bad that you did not complete your education with higher grades. You do not like the fact that you had been too busy in your job to care about health, family, or having fun. You imagine often what you could have turned out to be only if you had joined that company which offered a lower salary but an exciting job.

The list goes on.

The premise remains the same across these arguments. You strongly feel some phase of life could have been better, and since you cannot really change that – you create your own hell, and you revel in “what if” scenarios.

Since we do not have a working time machine, these thoughts go nowhere but jet along in your head.

dont regret past

And, you will not get anything else done. Who doesn’t love to blame others for their problems – here you are just blaming your past self.

 

Accept what you are

The first thing you do when you are in a situation is to accept yourself.

Yes, there were instances of glaring stupidity in display. There were indeed problems that could have been addressed better. You could have changed the course of history be deciding to take the 7:30 metro instead of starting 10:30.

All this could have happened, but they did not. Accept it. There is no point thinking about the past and regretting it.

Today is a new day. This moment is the new moment.

It is never late. Even if you could not become the greatest football star today, there is always a chance of participating in senior Olympics!

Yesterday, last year, last decade do not matter. You have learnt your lessons, apply those lessons and move on. Think about what you want to do now.

Today is what you focus on.

But, do plan for tomorrow. It may not be a good idea to head over to Spain this moment – unless you can afford it. Strategise on what you want to do, split that into goals and take action.

enjoy today. plan life for tomorrow

You have the satisfaction of living life you love this moment. And, that’s what counts.