There are no rules

There are only people

As everyone else, I’m consuming an inordinate amount of news in this crazy period. At the same time, I’m also reading the masterpiece Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari.

One thing that he so clearly and insightfully states in the book, is that while there are objective mathematic equations and physical or biologica laws, there are no such things as objectively right ideas or objectively true institutions

I remember reading “If you cut open someone, you won’t find human rights in there” or a similar statement in the book.

Reading this book in this period has made me think about the news in a much more worrying manner.

The big takeaway for me is that there are no rules. All the checks and safeguards that we assume are not some unbreakable physical laws. They are just words on papers. All it takes is for someone to ignore them and for others to not do anything about it.

Democracy is not something magic that once instituted can never be taken away. Many countries have descended into weird kleptocracies. Wars have been started in very peaceful periods. It is all possible.

In the end, there are only people and their actions.

We can choose which people to support and which actions to take.

But one thing I’m beginning to think is that in the face of rule-breakers, people that follow the rules will have a very hard time winning.

The football (soccer) match example

Imagine a soccer match where one team suddenly starts grabbing the ball with their hands.

There are a number of people that could object to this based on the rules, but the same people could also not say anything.

It’s true that there are multiple checks, but it just takes a couple of people to nullify them very fast.

The referee could still award goals. The federation could still mark the match as a valid one. The media could portray them as “testing the limits” of the system.

In such a scenario, all the other teams playing just with their foot will have a pretty hard time competing.

You can escalate this however much you want, and can see a league where this team is the only one allowed to play with their hands, or the only one allowed to play — period.

I unfortunately don’t have a great conclusion to share here if not an encouragement to start seeing the world with a different set of eyes, one where everything is possible.

I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.


Take control

While feeling all the uncertainty and sadness that’s coming from the elections results all around the world, I’ve been wondering just how much I’m impacted by it all.

I think that politics is an important aspect of our life and that people that go out there to truly serve their communities are heroes, but for some types of people this path just isn’t interesting.

It’s just like working in a big corporation.

Why in the world would you go to work for a huge company, owned by no one, where you have zero influence over it and which has all the influence over you?

But many people do, and many people like it. And many people like being in politics and only being able to change one thing every decade.

But that’s not good enough for the kind of people I’m thinking about.

Entrepreneurs don’t like it when a random majority of people decides for their future.

We like to take control of our own destiny. Make our own mistakes. And then learn, fast, to not make them again.

This, I think, is the reason why entrepreneurs feel this weird feeling of sadness even if they don’t really like or care about politics.

They don’t like the thought of not being in control, and having other people decide for them.

Well, luckily we can take control of most aspects of our life:

  • We can decide where we live, with whom we spend time with, where we work, on what and with whom.
  • We can decide how our mental cycles are spent, what we want to learn about, and how to use that knowledge.
  • We’re in control of what we buy and who we buy it from.
  • We’re in control of our financial life, of our emotions and ultimately of our future.

So, don’t think about politics — leave that to people who enjoy it — and take control of what you have the power to change. It’s more than you think.

Take control

How meditation killed my creativity and made me more stressed

Meditation and mindfulness are all the rage right now in SF.

Yesterday a friend said she now wants to meditate 2 hours per day.

A day doesn’t go by without an article on why mindfulness is the only thing that can save our race or a post by someone detailing their morning meditation ritual.

People are even starting to go on meditation retreats.

To be fair, the pitch for mindfulness is actually pretty great:

  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • make better decisions
  • increase focus
  • increase creativity
  • live longer
  • decreased blood pressure and hypertension
  • lower cholesterol levels
  • better sleep

That seems like a bargain for something that’s entirely free (unless you, like yours truly, want to spend $12.95/m to listen to a former buddhist monk with the best voice in the world) and only takes 10 minutes per day.

And so I started.

I downloaded Headspace and, read about the best practices for meditating, and started my pursuit of mindfulness.

Meditate 10 minutes a day, extra meditation when feeling particularly stressed, mindfulness and being present in everything you do, feeling the food in your mouth, the water on your skin, the breeze, the city noises, etc.

Doesn’t that sound like a fucking dream?

And then just a couple of weeks ago, it hit me: meditation fucked me up big time.

After months meditating, I noticed something completely different about myself.

I’ve always been used to have my mind race with ideas, thoughts, to read as much as possible on every subject, just trying to learn learn learn and then regurgitate everything back into idea form.

I used to listen to audiobooks on my commute and have my mind racing with ideas on how what I was learning could impact my life and my business.

I used to get to bed and start thinking about a million different things until I was so exhausted that I’d pass out.

I used to get my best ideas and thoughts under the shower, in those 10–15 minutes where you don’t have anything else to do than think.

But: “no!”, the inner mindful voice said.

That’s all going to kill you. You should be mindful all the time and live in the present.

During the commute, just enjoy the breeze and the view, the people, the noises.

When going to bed, feel the weight of your body and clear your mind of any thoughts.

When taking a shower feel the water on your skin and relax, be aware of your body.

And so just like that, all the moments when I used to race with creative ideas and thoughts, got killed.

I was now left with no time to actually think.

The creativity that is generated by just thinking, and reading, and thinking, and trying to see how what you read can apply to other parts of your life, now just got completely lost. This led to a very stressful state, which was made even more stressful by the fact that I did not know what I was stressing about! My life did not change much, and I was even meditating!

Sure, I have a kid, and a startup, and a fund, but that had been the case for a while.

Now, I’ve stopped meditating and feel great.

My mind races with new ideas constantly and I’m both more creative and focused when I need to focus.

Look, maybe I was just doing it wrong, but maybe, just maybe, meditation is not for everyone.

Maybe it’s for people who tend to stress really easily about minor details.

Maybe it’s for people who don’t get energized by thinking a lot about new ideas.

I don’t fucking know.

But in that form, it definitely not for me!

That being said, if you think I have obviously been missing the whole point, done it completely wrong, or am just a soul that can’t be saved.. I’m all ears here and on Twitter!