Here is a question, when a high school graduate apply to go to Harvard, and a couple of days later they get a rejection letter in the mail, why is it that they feel bad?
If I ask someone to go out on a date with me, and they say no, why do I feel bad for the rejection?

Before applying at Harvard, the high school grad was not into Harvard and after getting the rejection letter, they are not into Harvard.
Before I ask someone out, I wasn’t going on a date with anyone, and after they say no, I’m still not going out with anyone.

So why is it that we would be in the same exact place that we were before, but feel worse about ourselves?
Is the bad feeling, about being exactly where you were, or is the bad feeling about something else? Our ego maybe, expectations,…
Maybe we hate being rejected because it reveals something about us that we didn’t want to face in the first place, maybe we need to learn how to detach ourselves from the things we do; a better place to start would be, Harvard didn’t reject me, they rejected my application,…

Insecure, secure, and proactive people

About a week ago, Adam Grant, organizational psychologist at Wharton posted this on his LinkedIn page:

Insecure people pretend to know things they don’t. They dismiss expertise from others.
Secure people admit what they don’t know. They defer to expertise in others.
Proactive people take the initiative to learn what they don’t know. They acquire expertise from others.

This resonated!


A habit is the default thing you do. You don’t have to think about it, it just comes. It’s the default.

Most of us when trying to form a new habit, we want it to automatically be something we can just do without putting too much effort. We forget that there is a dip we have to cross, there is a time where we have to push through and make it to the other side.
Once on the other side, that thing we’re doing gets easier to do.

So, are you willing to stick with it to get through the dip? And it helps to answer the question before you start.

People are just people

People are not problems to fix.
You don’t need to figure them out.
They are not right or wrong (according to who anyways?!)

People are just people.
All we need to do is be with them.
See them.
Hear them.
Show them they matter.

Keep your identity small

I read Paul Graham essay on Keeping your identity small, what a great read and a wonderful insight! Here is a small excerpt from his essay.

The most intriguing thing about this theory, if it’s right, is that it explains not merely which kinds of discussions to avoid, but how to have better ideas. If people can’t think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible.

Most people reading this will already be fairly tolerant. But there is a step beyond thinking of yourself as x but tolerating y: not even to consider yourself an x. The more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you.

It resonated with me.

You can’t lose if you don’t play

It might be true depending on the game you’re playing and the rules of that game.

It might be that ‘not playing’ in itself is loosing the game.

Remember, you also can’t win if you don’t play.

I was wrong

A few days back I was wrestling with this question: when someone born and raised in the US is having a conversation with someone born and raised from a non English speaking country, who should do more work as to making sure the conversation goes smooth? Here is how I answered this question in a previous post and after listening to Malcom Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The story of Success, I figured why I answered this question the way I did: those who are born in the west (US,…) believe that it is up to the speaker to make sure everyone else understands what she is saying and those who are born in Asia (China,…) believe that it is up to the listener to understand what’s being said.
I answered this question as someone who has similar cultural background as someone from Asia!
Maybe there isn’t one answer to questions like these, maybe it’s not either/or, maybe it’s both/and,… choosing between binary answers might not be the right way to go about cultural, social, identity questions.

Practical Intelligence

Practical Intelligence is learned. What is practical intelligence? Robert Sternberg, psychologist, says that it includes, “knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect.”

Great phrase from the outliers book by Malcom Gladwell