Free vs Cheap vs Valuable

In general, we seem to give a lot of credit to “free” stuffs.

This is obviously a mistake in our mind’s processing. Upon a closer examination, what’s important is the difference between the benefit and the price, not just the price:

Value (x) = Benefit (x) – Price (x).

Getting a free rotten tomato is not going to be valuable.
Paying 25$ to buy a book that boosts our morale or inspires us to think is indeed valuable.

No, it’s invaluable.



Free things usually cost us more in the end. Mostly because their benefits are negative. And sometimes because their actual price is > 0, which means it’s practically a loan, not a purchase.

Similarly, being cheap in terms of price is not what really matters, logically speaking. Value is.

Being a big fish

It’s good to be a big fish.

Of course, it’s the small pond that makes the fish look big. A small pond makes us believe we are quite good. And that invariably makes us feel good.


And that usually traps us into believing that we’re really….big, big even out of the context of the small pond. Absolute big.

And one day, we happen to see bigger better fish. Oh… it’s the pond(!), not the fish, that actually provides meaning for “big”.

But being used to being “big”, a terrible thing then happens: we become defensive, to keep the status quo, which has never been real – except in our mind.


Being blind

Most of us are blind in certain areas of life: some are blind in music, some in Maths, some in philosophy.


Being blind means of course that we don’t know we’re blind.

What’s the cure?

I figure the only cure for this is the acceptance of our fallibility: that although we believe very much in our view, it’s possible that we are wrong.

Only when we haven’t closed the door may sunlight one day reach our mind.

(I always see the light, of course!)

2 Stoic Practices

You might have heard of Stoicism, or you might not. If you did, there is a good chance that what you perceive about Stoicism is not what you would learn if you read A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine.

But whether your knowledge of Stoicism is the same as the author’s is also not that important to you. What you would be interested, however, are the principles, regardless of the -ism, that would help you live a better life, whatever you take better to mean.

And there are 2 Stoic foundational practices that I think you would be interested to learn about and to apply. I have been using them unaware they are also part of Stoicism.

Let’s start with the first one.

Continue reading 2 Stoic Practices

You and I: The 3 levels of Connection

There are many ways in which You and I are different. It’s easy to see the differences, anyway. But sometimes this obstructs us from seeing that we’re all human beings, with more or less the same kind of desires and aspirations, and are all subjected to many similar experiences including illness and death (and we have just witnessed the passing of a great designer and visionary in technology). We know this all very well, to the degree that we’ve taken our similarities for granted so as to put more attention to the differences. I am.. and You are…

Now, the first level of connection that I’d like to suggest is something simple, something you may have heard many times before, but something I still find astonishingly profound:

       If I had been You, I would have done it the same.

Continue reading You and I: The 3 levels of Connection