We all love stories and movies about pirates. From Peter Pan to Pirates of the Caribbean. Children and adults alike love stories of pirates sailing the high seas, burying treasure, seeking adventure wherever it might be hiding, and launching themselves into thrilling battles. Pirates are often depicted as these rogues of the sea who are impossibly good-looking, eccentric, brilliant, resourceful, bold not to say reckless; the kind of elixir that could make anyone kinda irresistible.
How did pirates, who often committed horrendous acts of savagery become such loveable and idealized characters in the public mind? While pretty much nobody wants to be hanged or marooned, many of us sympathize with the desire to break free of our everyday routines and go off on an adventure, acquiring riches beyond our wildest dream in the process.
There is no doubt that pirate tales capture our imagination- Pirates movies such as the Pirates of the Caribbean have struck a chord with audiences all over the world. It is not hard to see why because the movie blends incredible action with humor and genuine emotional moments by a cast of unforgettable (and morally questionable) characters. Chief among them, of course, is the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow.
I invite you through this article to step outside the studios of Hollywood and head straight to the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean where we will be sailing through the high seas to meet up with some real-life pirates that became legends.
The 17th-18th Century the Golden Age of piracy
Christopher Columbus discovered America at the end of the 16th century and kickstarted an era of exploration; the discovery of the New World made him and his king famous but also very rich – the land was full of treasure gold, silver, and precious metals. The Spanish sailed West to look for treasures, whilst the Portuguese (not wanting to walk on the Spaniards’ turf) sailed East towards India, which was another one of those land full of spices and riches beyond imagination. Large Spanish and Portuguese ships called galleons began to sail back to Europe loaded with their precious cargo. The journey back home was fraught with danger. The high seas were the favorite playground of a sea of thieves.
What is the difference between a privateer, a corsair, and a buccaneer? Corsairs were pirates who operated in the Mediterranean Sea. Buccaneers lived in the Caribbean and the Pacific Coast of Central America. The name is derived from the French boucan a grill for smoking meat and was first applied to French wild game hunters living in West Hispaniola in the early 17th century. At first, they lived as hunters but later the governors of the Caribbean Islands paid them to attack Spanish treasure ships. Although raids started with official backing the buccaneers gradually became out of control attacking any ship, they thought carried valuable cargo whether it belongs to an enemy country or not. Eventually, the Buccaneers became pirates. Privateers were privately owned ships armed with guns operating in times of war. The Admiralty issued them with Letters of Marque that allowed them to capture merchant vessels without being charged with piracy. All goods and treasures were seized, and a cut was given to the government.
A Letter of Marque was a formal letter of authority allowing private owners of ships to capture enemy merchant ships on behalf of their government. If you were stealing in the name of your government your activities were viewed as heroic and noble but if you were stealing for your own personal account, you were labeled a pirate, a thief, and a vagabond and your punishment (if caught) would be death by hanging.
Corsairs, buccaneers, and privateers found themselves without a job in 1713 when a peace treaty was signed between several nations. The choice for them was (1) work as a sailor on a merchant ship, (2) work for your government or King on a navy ship, or (3) become a pirate. Many chose Option 3 – piracy. Life as a pirate was short, brutal, and spectacular.
Meet Olivier Levasseur, nicknamed, La Buse, the most prolific pirate of all time
Olivier Levasseur, nicknamed La Buse (The Buzzard) made a name for himself as one of the most prolific pirates of all time. He was born in Calais (France) in 1695 and was hanged for piracy in 1730 on Réunion Island (where I live) – A grave with his name on can be found in the Cimetière Marin de St Paul. La Buse is a historical figure and a legend. His life was just like a Hollywood movie, except that it was not pretend, it was the real deal. The mystery and intrigue he generated have not dissipated and he had been the focus of an astounding treasure hunt that began almost 300 years ago.
Levasseur was born into a wealthy family and practiced as an architect before becoming restless and hitting the ocean. He started off as a privateer or corsair for the French Crown in the Caribbean but soon he cut ties with his king and turned towards piracy. After the Peace Treaty, the colonial powers – not wanting to waste their military resources – decided that it was a good time to start a new war – The War on Pirates. The Caribbean was becoming too hot and too full of pirate hunters. La Buse thought that it was time to find a new playground and made his way to the Indian Ocean, where he met with a notorious English pirate named John Taylor. Levasseur met Taylor on Ile Sainte-Marie in Madagascar, an impregnable hideout for pirates. They decided to join forces.
Together they wreaked mayhem on their respective ships navigating the islands off the coast of Africa in search of adventure and loot to steal. On 16 April 1721, in one of the biggest pay-days of the history of piracy, La Buse and Taylor highjacked The Nossa Senhora Do Cabo or the Virgin of The Cape a Portuguese flagship that was mourned in Saint-Denis Harbour on Ile Bourbon (now Réunion). The ship was loaded with gold, jewelry, artworks, and other priceless artifacts.
On board was the Count of Ericeira ViceRoy of Portuguese India and in its hold was 10 years of accumulated treasures, gold, diamonds, jewelry, spices fine clothes, fine woods, and more. After heavy fighting, La Buse & Taylor seized the ship with its spectacular loot that was estimated at more than $1.5 billion maybe more! The Virgin of the Cape was renamed The Victorieux, Levasseur’s powerful new ship.
After taking over the treasure, the pirates quickly fled to their headquarters in Madagascar with the British navy in hot pursuit but to no avail. On that day, Levasseur and Taylor made history, they acquired the biggest loot of all time. The booty was divided between the crew. Each pirate got 42 diamonds and 5000 gold guineas. There were extra shares for the officers. Levasseur kept the rest.
Pirates become famous when they battle and loot, but they become legends when the time comes to bury their treasure. Levasseur buried his treasure in several temporary spots helped by a small crew before moving it to its final spot. The crew who helped bury the treasure in its final spot were the unlucky ones, they knew too much and were executed. No one except La Buse knew the location of the treasure. This treasure is said to be the holy grail of the whole history of piracy. It has never been found. The biggest treasure hunt of all time started 300 years ago and is still ongoing.
La Buse was a rich man. He decided to retire in Madagascar. The King of France offered him clemency if he returns the treasure. He refused. He laid low and enjoyed his retirement for 9 peaceful years until he run out of luck. On a fateful day in 1730, he was caught, sent to Ile Bourbon for a trial, and then sentenced to be hanged for his act of piracy. At his public hanging, he addressed the onlookers gathered around the gallows and said “Find my treasure the one who may understand it.” and threw a cryptogram into the crowd.
The Cryptogram is made of 17 lines of symbols. The British Museum tested the document and concluded that it was a genuine parchment from the 18th century. Levasseur was an intellectual, a Greek and Latin scholar who was versed in masonic symbology. Many scholars, historians, linguists, and treasure hunters tried to decode the cryptogram throwing everything they had at it Greek, Latin, Hebrew, astrology, astronomy and mythology. To no avail. To this day, no one has succeeded in decoding the secret message and it is assumed that the treasure is still buried somewhere on Réunion Island.
For any wannabe treasure hunters out there, be aware that there is no such thing in France as “Finders Keepers Law” that is in effect in England. Any treasure you find will have to be handed out to the authorities. So, chances are, La Buse’s Treasure may well stay buried another 300 years because who on earth will have the time, dedication, and resources to go on a treasure hunt to give it all back to your government if you get lucky?!
Why do we love pirates?
Pirates have been idealized and romanticized more than any other profession thanks to authors and movie makers. Popular literature has idealized and romanticized these figures hovering on the edge of the law. A pirate fits as easily into a hero’s shoes or as a villain, though they often shift from one to another over the course of their story; enemies can become allies; friends can become foes. They are unpredictable and loveable.
One of the authors who helped pirates slipped into popular legends is Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe) who published in 1724 a General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates under the pseudonym Captain Charles Johnson. The book was an enormous success and this paved the way for pirates’ stories to become viral.
Another reason why we love pirates despite their ruthless and savage attitude is because they abide by a code of conduct that reads like a script from a utopian movie where everyone has equal say on all matters, a free society with no elected leaders, and where the distribution of labor and profits were made equally.
Life as a pirate was short, brutal, spectacular, and definitely not for the faint-hearted. Not the type of lifestyle that you would want to replicate, but entertaining nonetheless. We love pirates because Pirate Style never goes out of fashion (raise your hand anyone who likes dressing up as a pirate), and they know a thing or two about hiding valuables, whilst creating a 300-year-old mystery that has still not been solved. To be continued…
[This is going to be a long story but if you read only one blog article this year, I suggest you read this one. Some deep secrets are going to be revealed… Make yourself comfortable because secrets such as this one cannot be revealed in a few paragraphs. I am going to take you on an epic journey. Off we go]
The world we are living in is chaotic and uncertain. Nothing is easy, we have to fight our way through everything. Everybody has problems, issues, and dramas to deal with and if you add to this some unexpected world events and some natural disasters then life becomes quite tricky. Wherever we are in the world, we all want the same thing. We all want to survive and thrive. We want to be happy, healthy, and wealthy. Surely, there must be a secret to stepping out of this chaotic world and getting to this Eldorado. Good news: there is a secret. It’s VUCA! You can watch the full documentary by joining UNIFYD TV where you will have access to a treasure trove of mindblowing information.
The US Army War College saw signs in 1987 that the world was becoming more volatile, more complex, more interconnected, more uncertain, and dangerously ambiguous. They put their best minds to work and came up with a military strategy known as V.U.C.A: Volatility. Uncertainty. Complexity. Ambiguity. From its very outset, the VUCA concept was put together to give US soldiers the ability to survive and thrive in times of crisis.
This military strategy (which is unknown to most) is the secret to survive and thrive in this chaotic world. For those of you who wish to follow me on this Quest to find this Eldorado, read on; I am going to take you on an epic journey. I have in my possession the “secret” roadmap that will take us out of this chaotic world and straight to the hero’s journey. How did I come to possess such valuable information; you may ask? All was revealed to me in a documentary I watched recently called It’s VUCA – The Secret to Surviving in the 21st Century by Michael Schindler.
This article is based on this documentary and on some of the previous blog articles I wrote in the past which complement the VUCA concept quite well.
Life is a battlefield. Nothing is easy, we have to fight our way through everything; with this in mind, it would be a good idea for us to familiarize ourselves with combat strategy and learn the best tricks in the book from trained warriors.
The secret to survive and thrive in this chaotic world is to first recognize that we live in a chaotic world
There is no doubt that we are living in a VUCA world where things are Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. The Covid Era will be remembered as the age of despair, fractured communities where we were forced to alienate ourselves from our families, friends, colleagues, and clients. People were living in a state of fear, stress, sadness,and uncertainty and were bombarded by information, new regulations, and emergency decrees that were complex and ambiguous. There seems to be more pain than we could heal, more dissent than we could mediate, and more uncertainty than we could comprehend.
The Covid Era taught us all that we are living in interesting times and learning how to navigate between order and chaos is critical. Everyone experiences the world through chaos, order, and something in between called consciousness.
Order is explored territory. It is the authority, the structured society. Order is tribe, religion, home, and country. Order is where the world’s behavior matches our expectations and desires, the place where all things turn out the way we want them to.
Chaos is unexplored territory. Chaos is the place you find yourself when things fall apart, when your dream dies, your career collapses, or your marriage ends. Chaos is when we don’t know where we are. When we don’t know what we are doing, and we don’t know where we are going.
Volatility turns our world upside down. We live in a volatile world where we have to face changes that are unpredictable and frequent with devastating impacts on our lives, jobs, businesses, and relationship. When uncertainty reigns, no one can predict with confidence what’s going to happen next. People feel hopeless. How we can find hope amid uncertainty and conflict? In a VUCA world, the volume of information to process is complex, overwhelming, and staggering. It is like being asked to play chess every day whilst the rules of the game keep changing all the time. Ambiguity is the name of the game. What is causing the chaos is unclear and confusing. There is no roadmap to follow, no landmarks, and no signposts.
Life is a battlefield, it is in the nature of most living organisms to engage in battles, have defense mechanisms, defeat their opponents, assert power and dominate. With humans, we see this happening in wars, in business, on a soccer field, in video games, and the chances are even when we are not waging war against our environment, we are waging war against ourselves. So how do you win everyday battles?
“If you know the enemy and you know yourself you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. But if you know neither the enemy nor yourself you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu claimed that the highest victory is defeating the enemy without fighting. Unfortunately, this ideal proposition is not always an option, sometimes you have no other option but to fight. That is why in life we ought to pick our battles carefully, we have to decide which battles are worth fighting and which are a waste of energy and resources. When push comes to shove and you have no choice but to fight, get into the arena and fight like your life depends on it, because it does. And please don’t wait for the cavalry to come and save you. The calvary ain’t coming, you are the calvary.
In life, you need to have the courage to fight those battles. Courage is not an absence of fear, courage is the mental preparedness and ability to deal with difficult challenges, and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats.
And this is where the big secret is revealed…
The secret is that you fight VUCA with VUCA. What you have to do is flip the script by turning the negative VUCA into a positive VUCA. Volatility can be countered by Vision. Uncertainty can be countered by Understanding. Complexity can be countered by Clarity. Ambiguity can be countered by Agility.
When you go into battle you need ammunition.
Ammunition number 1: Vision
In order to have vision, you first need to observe. Looking at something produces nothing. Observing on the other hand produces insights. According to the Oxford dictionary, “Observation is the action or process of observing something or someone in order to gain information.” Our observation skills inform us about objects, events attitudes, and phenomena using one or more senses. Improving our observation skills allows us to “listen” with more than our ears and make better decisions.
When we observe we can take a step back to peer into ourselves and others. Observing ourselves is crucial but observing others is essential as it provides another angle. When you combine the two the observation of ourselves and others you get valuable insights that you can use to better connect and communicate with people. Developing your observation skills will help you develop a better vision.
Get into the habit of observing the world as it is, in all its variety learning from it, and putting what you learned into use in your decision-making process, in improving your intuition, in building your relationships, and in developing your foresight and vision.
Ammunition number 2: Understanding
In order to understand the people and the world around you, you have to develop your ability to listen and to think for yourself.
“When you talk you are only repeating something that you already know. But if you listen you may learn something new.”
Before you assume learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Before you talk, Listen. Listening is key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood. As a result, communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.
Effective communication also starts with the understanding that people are not mind readers. Expecting people to guess your wishes and aspirations is only to bring frustration and resentment. If you want something from someone express yourself clearly. If you use the right word, the right tone of voice, and the right body language, you are increasing your chance of having your wishes and aspirations become a reality. Listening means paying attention not only to the story but how it is told. The use of language, the tone of voice, and how the person uses his or her body are important. Pay attention. It means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages.
We all think of ourselves as rational creatures, but in reality, humans are deeply irrational and are often governed by emotion rather than logic. Moreover, we have a tendency to operate within our own echo chamber, where the only information that goes through our brain is information that validates our prior knowledge vindicates our prior decisions, or sustains our existing beliefs.
Critical thinking means many things but at heart, it means a search for the truth. Critical thinking helps us determine what is real and what is not. But before we are able to exercise our cognitive ability to think we need to have a certain base of knowledge as a starting point. We can only think critically about things that we have knowledge of.
We should get into the habit from time to time of walking down the road less traveled the one taken by critical thinkers. If you decide to walk down that road it will require that you possess a certain fluidity of mind, some discipline, and be driven by the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what.
We live in a world of double standards, flagrant contradictions, and intolerance. It seems that people these days are incapable of having discussions with someone with who they strongly disagree, and have a civilized exchange based on reason rather than rage. It is a very sorry state of affairs. Preaching intolerance in the name of tolerance is a frightening contradiction that doesn’t seem to faze some people. But that is the VUCA world where are living in.
As a VUCA warrior, you will be a dangerous person if you know how to observe, listen, think (for yourself) and act accordingly.
Ammunition number 3: Clarity
There are 2 types of people in this world. Those who see clearly and those who don’t. People who see clearly are confident in themselves and in their abilities. Confident people know who they are, what they want, and how they should go about it. They have a road map; they have a destination in mind and have planned the journey ahead. They have determination, discipline, and a sense of purpose and they go through their life journey in a state of joy, happiness, and grace.
People who don’t see clearly are lost, they drift, they are discouraged, they keep changing their mind and instead of going forward towards the light (there is always light at the end of the tunnel) they turn around in circles, wandering endlessly and compulsively but not really going anywhere and their life journey ends up being a journey full of pain and suffering.
The lack of clarity triggers different types of reactions in people. Some people will opt for burying their heads in the sand and continue to operate on autopilot. Others will sink into despair or run around in a state of panic not knowing what to do, holding on to their anger, resentment, and suffering.
Suffering is part of life everybody has problems, issues, and dramas to deal with. Jordan Peterson advocates that we should bear our own cross, our own suffering, transcend it and then try to reduce it by becoming some kind of hero to ourselves and to people around us. So how do we become heroes? Not by wearing a cape, jumping from building to building trying to save the world. We become heroes by becoming a better person every day, shining our own light into the world. [Hold that thought, more on this later.]
“Your mind is like this water my friend. When it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.”
All of us without hesitation would prefer if given the choice, to be in the skin of one of those people who can see clearly. However, life is never black or white life is a lot more complex than that and you can bet that all of us will have periods where we experience moments of clarity, where everything is in harmony where we feel that we are on top of the world and we know where we are going, but we will also experience moments when we lack clarity, when we are filled with doubts and feel discouraged and drift not knowing where we are going.
If Clarity was a commodity that could be purchased the chance is that commodity would become the most precious item one could own. The problem is you cannot obtain Clarity from someone else you cannot buy Clarity and you cannot unfortunately receive it as a gift from someone else. You will have to find it yourself. Clarity will make your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions congruent with each other.
Buddhists believe that: “The world is like muddy water. To see through it, we have to let things settle. We can’t be disturbed by initial appearance. And if we are patient and still the truth will be revealed to us.”
Ammunition Number 4: Agility
As VUCA Warriors we should be agile, we should learn the art of mobility. In the military world, the ability to maneuver cross-country and in the most restrictive terrain is essential. In life, if you are stuck in your own self-righteous and rigid way of doing things then you will lack the mobility to advance. Stiffness of thoughts originates from an inability to think critically preferring instead to submit yourself to groupthink and an ideology without questioning it.
The world is not black and white there are several shades of grey in between. Things change all the time. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. You don’t need a group, a leader, or some media platforms to tell you how to think and how to act. Don’t let people put you into a box and stick a label on it because that makes you predictable, vulnerable, and controllable. Be your own person be curious about what’s going on, ask questions, and think for yourself.
And please, stop asking for permission when you don’t have to. From the day we are born, we spend our lives asking for permission for everything. It starts with our parents, our teachers, our boss, our spouse, or our leader, and it goes on and on. Being compliant, obedient, and asking for permission might serve us well in a civilized society as we learn how to control our wants and desires; but the irony and eventual quiet tragedy of that is that in some instances, our wants and desires might not have a possessor, a licensor or a permit giver. It may lay outside the realms of ownership. There may be broad indifference to whether we act in some way or not. There may be no law or no one to be upset by our move. The desired thing in question might just belong to whoever dares to step forward and take it. There is no formal procedure, it’s just the courage to imagine that it could be yours. I say, stop asking for permission, if you don’t have to. Learn to be more autonomous and agile.
If you have the Vision, the Understanding, the Clarity of mind, and the Agility; congratulations, you have passed the test to be a VUCA warrior.
The secret to survive and thrive in this chaotic world is to recognize the necessity to act on our VUCA warrior attitude and combat obstacles on our journey
This is where storytelling comes into play. The VUCA world is laced with dilemmas, and problems you can’t solve, problems that won’t go away. Storytelling is critical in the VUCA world because stories take us into the unknown, they teach us about facing conflicts and overcoming fear and obstacles. We are all looking for clear answers to our questions, clear paths to follow, and clear solutions to our problems.
There are two ways to learn valuable life lessons that will teach us to become a little bit smarter and wiser. The first method is through trial, error and personal experience and the second method is through storytelling. The downside of the first method is that it will no doubt bring you a fair amount of pain and suffering, which is something that we all want to avoid as much as possible. Learning life lessons through someone else’s struggle and ordeal is a much less painful way to go about it whilst still bringing the same benefits. And this is why storytelling is so important. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves and about others.
The importance of storytelling
We should not underestimate the writer’s role in society. From the beginning of time, knowledge was shared from generation to generation thanks to storytellers who used their artistry to pass on information, knowledge, and wisdom to their community.
Well-chosen words breathe hope into us when our spirits are broken, revive us when our bodies are weary, lift our spirits up when we lose ourselves in an ocean of despair, redeem the wrong we feel, and make us stronger than we know.
Do not underestimate the writer’s role in society, because writers bring to the world something that no one else can… they shape the world. Writers have the power through their words to educate, heal and illuminate the mind.
“A poet’s work is to name the unnamable, to point to fraud, to start arguments, to shape the world, and to stop it going to sleep. Writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things that go on in the world of uncertainty, doubts, dreams, love, deception … that go on, slipping like sand through our fingers. To understand just one life, you just have to swallow the world. Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest place in human society and in the human spirit, where I go to find not absolute truth, but the truth of the tale, of the imagination of the heart.”
Storytelling gives us that clarity and can give us the courage to act, and the motivation to be resilient. For sure we can turn to real and/or fictional heroes for inspiration and motivation but ultimately you have to embark on your own hero’s journey and become the hero of your own story. Remember. The cavalry ain’t coming, you are the cavalry.
The hero’s journey
Heroes are admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or their noble qualities. Heroes may be exhausted, but they persevere. They may be fearful, but they face danger courageously; still, they do not quail in the face of countless obstacles and danger. Heroes are undeterred by profoundly insurmountable difficulties and most of all they don’t allow themselves to be intimidated by destructive forces that cross their paths.
History is full of admirable heroes who fought against tyranny but in the modern era Are there any heroes left? If you live in a tyranny, would you know it? And if you did, are there any heroes left to fight against it? It is not a good idea to expect a noble knight to come on his white horse to save you. Save yourself. I believe that there is a new breed of heroes that are emerging. They are difficult to spot because they don’t wear a cape and a mask, they don’t jump from building to building, they don’t ride on a white horse; they are hiding in plain sight, they are amongst us hidden by their familiarity, they are hiding in you and me. Today’s heroes are you and me and anybody who has the courage to stand up when demoralized people are kneeling in submission.
Remember that a hero’s journey begins at the end of our comfort zone. A comfort zone is an artificial mental boundary within which we maintain a sense of security and out of which we experience great discomfort. Each one of us has our own boundaries that delineate our comfort zone, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all-comfort-zone model, but what you must know is that all the comfort zone is concerned about is keeping you inside of it.
A lot of people will have a natural inclination for staying inside their comfort zone even if they are unhappy and unfulfilled, first and foremost because it is familiar and safe, but most of all because they are afraid of the unknown, the risk of failure, and/or being hurt. They would rather stay wrapped up in their little cocoon, preferring to stay warm and cozy.
The only problem with this is that even if you have a strong desire to stay warm and cozy forever and have no inclination to do more than is absolutely necessary, sometimes life doesn’t give you that choice. The Covid Era is a great testimony of this. Ultimately, the hero within you will have to leave their cozy comfort zone and head into the scary unknown. At this point, courage and resilience are required to face doubts, interferences, and weaknesses; but what the hero will gain in the process are courage, a new perspective, and some wisdom.
In life, you need to have courage in order to fight those battles. Courage is the mental preparedness and ability to deal with difficult challenges and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats.
Courage is not a quality that you are born with. It is one that has to be cultivated and honed. Today, we typically associate courage with heroic deeds but being courageous does not necessarily entail doing something dramatic or astoundingly heroic, everyday living requires courage. When we work to develop courage, we both empower ourselves with the ability to confront problems head-on, as well as acquire the skills required to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.
VUCA demands more from you. It demands more energy, more focus, more strength,and more resilience. Look at every day as being a VUCA warrior in training getting ready to get into the arena and fight as and when necessary.
The secret to survive and thrive in this chaotic world is to become antifragile. Human beings are fragile animals, but we are also resilient, rational beings with foresight, discernment, and the ability to survive and even thrive. Nobody knows what is going to happen next so we should get comfortable being uncomfortable while uncertainty reigns.
“Uncertainty is the very conditions that impels man to unfold his powers. As we navigate our own uncertain times together, may a thousand flowers of sanity bloom, each valid so long as it is viable in anchoring the human spirit it animates. And may we remember the myriad terrors and uncertainties preceding our own which have served as unexpected awakenings from some of our most perilous civilization slumbers.”
We live every day with the knowledge of our staggering fragility, and we know how physiologically vulnerable our body and mind can be. We are aware that terrible outcomes are always possible and often probable. Your Quest as a human being is to protect yourself against the danger of losing your life but also against the danger of losing your mind. When the going gets tough, be tougher.
This knowledge of our own vulnerability makes us go back and forth between ecstatic optimism and sheer despair. In order to cope with that awareness and to counterweigh the heavy sense of our own fragility we often rely on the hope that somehow, we will be strong enough to withstand rare and unexpected events which the author Nassim Taleb refers to asBlack Swans Events.
In his book, The Black Swan (2007) Taleb focuses on the extreme impact of rare and unpredictable events which are events impossible to predict due to their extreme rarity. As Black Swan Events may result in catastrophic consequences it is important for people always to assume, however, unlikely that they are possible and plan accordingly. In his book, Taleb urges his readers to not attempt to predict Black Swans Events but to build robustness to their negative impacts. The world is too complex for anyone to understand or predict exactly what is going to happen, and rather than naively try to predict Black Sawn Events we just need to be aware of the possibility and adjust to their existence by becoming antifragile.
In his book, Antifragile (2012) Taleb explains that all systems can be categorized as fragile, robust, or antifragile. Fragile things are exposed and destroyed by volatility. Robust things resist. Antifragile things benefit from it.
“Some things benefit from shock they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder stressors and uncertainty. Antifragility is beyond resilience and robustness. The resilient resists shock and stay the same. The antifragile gets better. The fragile wants tranquility. The antifragile grows from disorder.”
Nassim Taleb urges people to stop using the observable past as an indicator of the future – Don’t be a Turkey! Turkey is fed for 1000 days and thinks that everything is all right and food will be coming. On day 1001 the day before Thanksgiving everything changes.
“Uncertainty is our discipline and understanding how to act under conditions of incomplete information is the highest and most urgent human pursuit.”
Below are 4 tips to become tougher and antifragile:
Become antifragile and tougher by removal. The solution to many problems in life is solved by removal, and not by addition. Living a healthy life is more about removing sugar, processed food, and unhealthy snacks from your diet. Similarly, people become wealthy by reducing their exposure to going bust. Professional athletes win games by removing mistakes.
Become tougher and antifragile by being healthy. Treat your body as a temple worship it every day. Being unhealthy makes our immune system weak, which makes us more prone to disease, which in turn makes us fragile. Hippocrates is known for saying: “let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” According to this doctrine, the body contains within itself the power to rebalance and heal itself.
Become tougher and antifragile by optionality. The more options you have the more freedom you have to respond to unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing your fragility to Black Swan Events. If you have optionality you don’t need to be right that often. All you need is the wisdom not to do things that will hurt your and to be able to recognize favorable outcomes when they arise.
Become tougher and antifragile through trial and error. Try new things and find out through a process of trial and error what works and what doesn’t. If an idea doesn’t work, make it fail quickly then move on to the next one. Play safe in some areas of your life and take some risks in others.
And this my dear friend is your Quest – Become a VUCA warrior!
We all have in mind a romanticized idea of what explorers look like i.e., a Marco Polo, a Christopher Colombus or a Ferdinand Magellan surely fit that explorer stereotype. We should also include Hollywood characters such as Indiana Jones and Lara Croft in that list. Those explorers and adventurers are truly exceptional individuals with a very special set of skills and a level of courage and determination that set them apart from the rest of us. For sure those explorers have been real trailblazers and we should give them the respect and recognition that they deserve, but from my perspective, we are all explorers.
We are all Explorers. You don’t have to be a thrill junkie to be an explorer
We don’t have to be navigators, scientists, archaeologists, or adrenaline junkies to be an explorer. You can call yourself an explorer as soon as you decide to start a journey of discovery that will unveil some hidden knowledge, myths, truths, and lies about the world as we know it. What you need is a little bit of courage.
Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently.
You don’t have to be a thrill junkie to be brave. Being brave is waking up every day to face all that life is throwing at you with courage and determination. Being brave is being able to stand strong in the face of rejection, and criticism and continue to work on your life purpose without loss of enthusiasm. Being brave is being able to be alone without feeling lonely because it is in solitude that you can hear that little voice inside you who has been trying to tell you what you already know deep down but you were too busy being distracted by all the noise around you. Being brave is taking care of your body, mind, and spirit and make yourself strong, healthy and resilient each and every day.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.
We are all explorers. Photo featuring Joanne Reed in the desert of Saudi Arabia.
We are all Explorers. Step outside your comfort zone`
A comfort zone is an artificial mental boundary within which we maintain a sense of security and out of which we experience great discomfort. Each one of us has our own boundaries that delineate our comfort zone, there isn’t a one size-fit-all-comfort-zone model, but what you must know is that all the comfort zone is concerned with is keeping you inside of it.
A lot of people will have a natural inclination to stay inside their comfort zone even if they are unhappy and unfulfilled, first and foremost because it is familiar and safe, but most of all because they are afraid of the unknown, the risk of failure, and/or being hurt. They would rather stay wrapped up in their little cocoon, preferring to stay warm and cozy. But instead of staying in this warm cosy place, I propose to take you on an exploratory trip where you will get uncomfortable by stepping outside your comfort zone.
Stepping outside your comfort zone will help you grow, but it is important that you do it properly; be mindful of not putting yourself in a situation where you will push yourself to do something that falls way outside your comfort zone to the point of jeopardy. There is a fine line between being courageous and being stupid.
We are all explorers. Photo featuring Joanne Reed in the desert of Saudi Arabia.
According to Professor Andy Molinski who is a professor of organizational behavior at Brandeis University International Business School there are 3 zones when it comes to comfort. The first one is the comfort zone, where you are in a familiar situation and you are experiencing very little anxiety. The second zone is the stretch zone, where you are experiencing some level of anxiety but at a point where you can turn it into motivation and a good productivity level. The third zone is the panic zone where you are experiencing extreme levels of anxiety and where you are feeling completely overwhelmed.
Molinski stresses that the optimal level of discomfort is in your stretch zone. It is important to understand that comfort zone is a subjective concept, and each individual has to understand their tolerance to discomfort. Humans react to new situations differently, it is very possible that what one considers to be their stretch zone might be another’s panic zone. There are several factors that will help you determine your tolerance levels, such as your values and interest, your personality and tolerance to stress. The key is to understand how you work. You need to know yourself. Having that kind of insight relies on a great deal of self-awareness and if you are unsure, the only way to find out is to experiment.
We are all Explorers. Start looking at life with a sense of curiosity
We are all explorers. Photo featuring Joanne Reed in the desert of Saudi Arabia.
What you need is to start looking at life with a sense of curiosity. You want to become an explorer. You want to keep learning and growing. Be open and receptive. Become involved in life. Be in the arena. You want to venture to places you haven’t been to before. You want to do things you haven’t done before.
You want to connect and engage with people you wouldn’t normally interact with. You want to taste new dishes. You want to climb to the top of a mountain, canoe across a lake, ride your bike to work, or walk barefoot in the grass. You want to sing in the shower, dance in the living room and have pajama parties with your friends. You want to wear outrageous and colorful clothes. You want to dance in the rain ad get wet.
You want to take your time to think and pause and meditate, to reflect on who you are and what you want to be. You want to gaze through a window and breathe, taking in the beauty of the scenery.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers and followers. The festive season is upon us, a time for celebrations, seasonal gatherings, and the exchange of gifts. For the little ones, Christmas is associated with everything looking a little prettier than usual, with Christmas decorations and lights everywhere. But the excitement really comes from the expectation of a visit from Santa Claus who will stop by to drop off some presents, assuming of course that they have been good enough throughout the year. Adults will get presents too, hoping that Father Christmas would have enough insight to have guessed properly all the things on their Christmas list, the list they only wrote in their head and never took the time to send out!
There are two types of people in this world, those who see clearly, and those who don’t. People who see clearly are confident in themselves and in their abilities. Confident people know who they are, what they want, and how they should go about it. They have a road map, they have a destination in mind, and have planned the journey ahead. They have determination, discipline, and a sense of purpose and they go through their life journey in a state of joy, happiness and grace. The Quest for Clarity is an endless pursuit. We all seek it. We all want clear answers to our questions. We all want clear solutions to our problems. We all want clear paths to follow along the road to a happy and successful life. We all want to move from a state of confusion, which brings with it a lot of suffering to a state of clarity, which brings joy and happiness.
People who don’t see clearly are lost, they drift, they are discouraged, they keep changing their mind and instead of going forward towards the light (there is always light at the end of the tunnel) they turn around in circles, wandering endlessly and compulsively but not really going anywhere; and their life journey ends up being a journey full of pain and suffering. The lack of Clarity triggers different types of reactions in people. Some people will opt for burying their heads in the sand and continue operating on autopilot. Others will sink into despair or run around in a state of panic not knowing what to do, holding on to their anger, resentment, and suffering. Suffering is part of life, everybody has problems, issues, and dramas to deal with. Jordan Peterson advocates that we should bear our own cross, our own suffering, transcend it and then try to reduce it by becoming some kind of hero to ourselves and to people around us. How do we become heroes? Not by wearing a cape, jumping from building to building trying to save the world. We become heroes by becoming a better person every day shining our own light into the world, and the gift of clarity helps us do just that.
All of us without hesitation would prefer if given the choice, to be in the skin of one of those people who can see clearly. However, life is never black or white, life is a lot more complex than that and you can bet that all of us will have periods where we experience moments of clarity, where everything is in harmony, where we feel that we are on top of the world and we know where we are going; but we will also experience moments when we lack clarity -when we are filled with doubt and feel discouraged and drift, not knowing where we are going. If Clarity was a commodity that could be purchased, the chance is that commodity would become the most precious item one could own. The problem is you cannot obtain Clarity from someone else; you cannot buy Clarity and you cannot unfortunately receive it as a gift from someone else. You will have to find it yourself. Clarity will make your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions congruent with each other. We should also accept the fact that if you are not present in the moment, you will not be able to see clearly. Being present in the moment is a very powerful tool for you to experience greater clarity and make better choices.
All I want for Christmas is Peace and Clarity.
All I want for Christmas is the strength to take the first step of many to where I want to go
Where do you really want to go? Have you taken the time to sit in a quiet place to ask yourself this question? Before you go on a plane and travel halfway across the world to some exotic location, you may want to pause for a minute or two to ask yourself what is your likes and dislikes, what are your expectations and aspirations. You have to know yourself first before you decide to go on a trip of a lifetime. According to the Ancient Greeks, the source of all wisdom and clarity is to Know Thyself. The path to knowing oneself, according to philosopher Carl Jung (1875 to 1961), is no light stroll. It is a dark and mysterious business; digging into oneself, climbing down directly into the tunnel of one’s being is an agonizing and hazardous undertaking.
When you embark on a journey of self-discovery, you will come face to face with what makes you whole. Every story has a hero and a villain, and in your story, you will be both. There is your heroside who is wise and rational and will say, “this year, we are going to eat healthily, exercise more, and lose weight.” And then there is your villainside who is less rational, more impulsive, and will tempt you, “you deserve that ice cream and a lay down on the sofa, maybe even a few hours of TV.” Knowing who you are start with asking the right questions. What do you believe to be essential and important? What are you really living for? Why do you do the things you do?
A large portion of the decisions we make is to fulfill a need for societal validation. Societal validation will sometimes require us to behave in a certain way; being good to our parents, to our siblings, our teachers, our boss, our spouse, our neighbors, and our country (even if it means dying for it). There is a huge degree of inner peace and security connected to feeling good about who we are and all of us are prone to fulfilling this need. That said, once our sense of obligation and duty has been fulfilled, we should still leave some room left to make decisions based on our own needs and not just focus on what other people want us to do.
All I want for Christmas is the strength to take the first step of many to where I want to go.
All I want for Christmas is the grace and wisdom to persist in things worth doing.
According to Henry David Thoreau “The mass of men leads lives of quiet desperation.” This feeling comes from the fact that a lot of people feel that they are stuck in the rat race unable to make their own choices but forced instead to go through the motion of waking up every day, going to work to get a paycheck which is necessary in order to afford all the necessities of life, pay all the bills, put some money aside (if possible) for a well-deserved vacation somewhere (to get away for just a little while) from the mundanity of everyday life and repeat the process year after year after year; but people are not born to just go to work, pay their bills and then die. Surely, there is more to it than that.
Living a life of quiet desperation can affect everyone, young, old, poor, and also the rich & famous. For the majority of people, the ultimate measure of success is to become rich and if you can achieve fame at the same time – all the better; but sometimes notoriety and money alone are not enough to save people from a life of quiet desperation. The most fundamental question that each one of us should ask ourselves is What is the meaning of life? The meaning of life is to live it to the best of your ability.
Whether people admit it or not, most of us have the desire to make a difference, to have an impact, or some level of influence on others. It is part of human nature, and it is admirable because it implies that we want to live a life that is bigger than us and our immediate entourage. We want to leave something of value after we leave, we want to leave a legacy. The thought of being forgotten and having had not much impact during the course of our life is troubling and distressing.
The world needs able men and women, peole who can do things that are thoroughly worthwhile; people who can think great thoughts and transform such thoughts into great deeds.”
Christian D. Larson
To be or not to be impactful? This may seem to be an odd question for some. Some people are very content with a quiet life away from the hustle and bustle. They are happy the way things are and don’t have any inclination to change things and even less inclination to change the world. Fair enough. Sadhguru has an interesting point of view on this issue. Every one of us is free to capture as much life as we want. If you capture a substantial amount of life you will become a significant presence, you will radiate, and that presence will draw people to you. It is not the knowledge you accumulated in your head, not the social status, the successes, or the muscle you built upon your body. It is just how much life emanates from you.
If you have the opportunity to go out in the world and do something impactful. Good, go out there and be impactful. But if not, don’t worry. Concentrate on being happy and content. The world needs more of these types of people. An oak tree sitting outside is not trying to create a significant impact on anyone. By just sitting there in a calm and assured state of being, the oak tree by its mere presence is being impactful without even trying. If someone just happened to walk past that oak tree on a hot and sunny day, wishing to rest and cool down for a little while, that person will find refuse under the oak tree and will appreciate its presence and the shade it can offer in that particular day, at that particular time. The oak tree has had an impact on that person, just by being there.
All I want for Christmas is the grace and wisdom to persist in things worth doing.
Bruce Lee’s legacy as a martial artist, movie star, and deep thinker remains very much alive today; there is so much we can learn from him, still. There was a point during his training when Bruce Lee became frustrated with his lack of progress. He was working hard but didn’t see any improvement. His Master knew the problem was that he was trying too hard.
“Preserve yourself by following the natural bends of things and don’t interfere. Remember never to assert yourself against nature, never be in frontal opposition to any problems, but control it by swinging with it”.
BE LIKE WATER. Don’t get set into one form, adapt it, build your own and let it grow. When you put water in a cup it becomes the cup. When you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. In order to control myself, I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature.
BE LIKE WATER. The nature of water is so fine that it is impossible to grasp a handful of it. Strike it yet it does not suffer hurt. Stab it and it is not wounded. Sever it, yet it is not divided. It has no shape of its own but molds itself to the acceptable that contains it.
BE LIKE WATER. When water is heated it turns into steam, it is invisible, but it has enough power to split the Earth itself. When frozen it crystallized into a mighty rock. First, it is turbulent like Niagara Falls then calm like a spring on a hot summer day. BE LIKE WATER.
Be flexible in both mind and body. Don’t be rigid and stubborn about your beliefs, your practices, or your understanding of how the world operates, be open-minded, stay fluid and adapt to the circumstances.
Bruce Lee understood that the path of least resistance is to be just like water. Don’t go against your own nature, let it flow and use it to your advantage. Martial artists learn to preserve their own energy while turning the force used by their opponents against them.
And this, my dear friend is Your Quest – Be like water!
For some people finding their passion is easy, they were born knowing what it was. For others, finding their passion is not so obvious. The problem is that a lot of people believe that their passion is hiding somewhere, maybe behind a tree or underneath a rock. The truth is that our passion comes first from doing things, and then doing them right. We should get into the habit of injecting passion into eveything we do. If we do this consistently, a time will come when something will stand out above all the other things, and that is the very thing that we should devote more time to doing passionately. That’s all there is to it, just do it .
Find your passion. Make your life a work of art
It is possible to have a passion and still feel demotivated and deflated because you can’t see any results. The problem these days is that people are impatient, they expect instantaneous results. That’s not how things work. Being successful at something requires hard work, sweat, tears, discipline, and patience. Don’t focus on the outcome, focus on the work itself. Pursue the things you love doing and devote yourself to hone your craft on a daily basis. Eventually, people will not be able to take their eyes off you.
If you still feel dispassionate and have no passion to create anything, take note of what the philosopher Carl Jung has to say on this subject.
“If you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself. To give style to one’s character is a great and rare art.”
Consider making your life a work of art. You have yourself to begin with and a time of uncertain duration to work on it. You do not have to be who you are, even though you may be quite content with who and what you are; it will not be hard for you to think of something greater than you might become; it need not be something spectacular or even something that will attract any notice from others. What it will be is a kind of excellence that you project for yourself and then attain. Something you can look at with honest self-appraisal and be proud of. Make your life a work of art!
Find your passion. Be an artist, create, innovate
I am an author, blogger & storyteller but I like to describe myself as an artist because it is more suited to my state of mind, it is more fluid.
I am an artist. I am a creator of ideas. Swimming in a sparkling sea of imagination. A magician of sorts turning thoughts of wonderment into pieces of originality. Each creation showcases my own personal journey. My worries, dreams and ambitions. Everything I love and everything I fear. All that I was yesterday and all that I’ll be tomorrow is neatly contained in my glorious creations. When you glance over my work, you are catching a glimpse of my soul. For a part of me is each piece I create. I march to my own beat and wildly dance ot my own rhythm. Passion runs through my veins and emotions are fuel for my craft. Certain pieces I protect and keep to myself. While others I’ll share with the world. I am a creative beacon shining my light brightly. For all the Universe to see.
And this, my dear friend is Your Quest – Make your life a work of art. Over to you!
This is the first of a series of blog articles where I will take a “fresh” look at “old” pieces that I published in the past, keeping it short and sweet. The main idea is to highlight the key concept or lesson that I shared, getting straight to the point and giving you food for thought. Long story short we are fast approaching the end of the year of the Tiger. So what have we learned?
Time flies and just like that we are soon coming to the end the year 2022, the Year of the Tiger. According to people who know how to decipher those zodiac signs, the year of the Tiger is about making significant changes. It is a year of risk-taking and adventure. We are finding enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everybody is fired up, generosity of at an all-time high and social progress feels possible again. Tigers do things their own way and hate being told what to do.
Tiger symbolism is most commonly associated with strength and courage, as well as determination and independence. Tigers travel great distances, but they also spend time resting and saving energies, in readiness for their next hunt or battle. Some fights are worth fighting others are not. Tigers are good at choosing which pursuits are worth their time and energy.
The tiger animal spirit is silent and solitary and thrives when there are no distractions. Its focus becomes more laser-sharp, and the silence makes it easier to spot any kind of movement nearby. Do not come rushing and roaring at your targets because this is the easiest way you can lose them from your grasp. Take a step back and think of the best approach. Sometimes to be successful in life, you need to forgo speed and aggression; slow down, listen closely, and wait for the perfect timing, no matter how long it takes.
The man who is free is the one who knows.
Instead of relying on someone else to tell you what to think and what to do open your eyes, open your ears, open your heart, exercise independent judgment, take responsibility, and become self-reliant. If someone tells you that there is a hailstorm outside, and another person is telling you that it is bright and sunny outside; your job is not to believe and repeat those two contradictory statements, your job is to open your front door, step outside and see for yourself if it is stormy or sunny.
The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity
Most people believe that to be a good person you have to be a compliant person and do what one is told by those in positions of political power backed up by their lackeys in the media and celebrity culture. The problem these days is that people who value social conformity are so self-righteous that they feel the need to impose their views on those who are more fluid in their thinking.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the conformists would just be happy to conform and permit those who can exercise independent judgment the freedom to make their own choices. No, that is not how things work these days; we live in an era where you are not permitted to think for yourself anymore, if you dare to do so, the thought police will make sure to penalize you, de-platform you, cancel you, censor you so that you can’t express those “unacceptable views” anymore.
We are now living in a society where you can’t say or do anything without having to ask some authorities for permission or worry about some nasty consequences if people really knew what you really think, but if you are inhabited by the Tiger spirit you would know that “a Tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of Sheep.”
According to the Law of Gravity “what goes up in space must come down to Earth.” Space is pretty big and infinite. But the same can’t be said of the Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO), which is cluttered with all kind of space junk. Scientists were asked to find a solution to dispose of all useless spacecraft carcasses instead of having them circling the Earth for eternity. They found that the best pace do dump space junk is in the middle of nowhere, far away from everything and everyone, at Point Nemo. You can read the whole story on History of Yesterday.
The Holywood Movie “The Woman King” shone a bright light on the Agodjies an all-female military regiment of the Ancient Kingdom of Dahomey. In this epic historical drama, African women take center stage in the most magnificient manner. Were the Agodjies female heroes or angels of deaths? To find out more about those phenomenl women, I invite you to read my article published today on History of Yesterday.
“If Turkey thought, they’d run away a week before Thanksgiving Day. But Turkeys can’t anticipate, and so there’s turkey on my plate.”
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and followers! It is the occasion for the whole family to gather together around a Turkey dinner and show gratitude for all the blessings that came their way. This tradition started almost 400 years ago following an epic tale where pioneer spirit, courage, adversity, generosity, and gratitude took center stage.
For this occasion, I would like to serve you an article where la pièce de résistance is a turkey and for those who don’t like turkey, you can have swans instead. Not all turkeys end up on the dining table at Thanksgiving dinner, the wild types prefer to proudly strut their stuff, look pretty and be pretty wild.
Turkeys were considered as having a sacred nature in ancient Mexican Cultures
My thanksgiving message, be like the wild turkey
Did you know that wild turkey can run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and can fly at 55 miles per hour? Domesticated turkeys lost their ability to run fast and to fly due to their selective breeding aimed to make them grow abnormally big and much less agile than their wild cousins. Captivity and laziness turned a fast-flying bird into a stagnant piece of meat
Wild turkeys are social, playful birds who are intelligent and have distinct personalities, and just like dogs and cats they can be quite moody. They are incredibly curious and inquisitive animals who enjoy exploring, they are really good at geography and can learn the details of really large areas which is especially good for finding food. They like flirting and when they see a female that they fancy they put up a show to impress her by showing off their beautiful feathers. Another interesting fact about wild turkeys is that their life span can stretch up to 10 years.
Message from wild-Turkey.
My feathers are easily ruffled. Every now and then I get broody. My favorite thing is to gobble-up attention and make it all about me. I proudly strut my stuff whenever I have the chance to do so. Keep your eyes on me, I like being the center of attention. Thanksgiving sounds great. What’s for dinner?
Turkeys were considered sacred by ancient Mexican cultures like the Aztecs and Mayans, who honored turkeys for their striking beauty and cocky confidence and pride. Certain Native American Tribes also honored turkey as a spirit of abundance, sacrifice, and fertility.
As a spirit animal, the turkey reminds us to honor ourselves, to honor the earth and to care for and nourish both. Cultivating a harmonious relationship with the Earth is one of the key teachings of turkey’s wisdom. And one we are surely in need of in the world today. Turkeys are also a strong symbol of the importance of community, sharing, and authentic connection and reminds us to be grateful and aware of the many blessings we have in our life.
Nasim Taleb’s thanksgiving message to all of us, let’s not be turkeys
Nasim Nicholas Taleb, the best-selling author of The Black Swan, told the story of a turkey who is fed by a farmer every morning for 1,000 days. Eventually, the turkey comes to expect that every visit from the farmer means more good food. He is quite comfortable with his lifestyle. He figures that he is living the good life, hanging out on the farm with his friends and being fed every day by the friendly farmer, who is looking after him quite well by making sure he eats well and continue to grow and put up on a good amount of weight. Turkey came to the realization that the bigger he is the happier the farmer seems to be. Hence, there is a bit of competition on the farm among the turkeys to put on as much weight as possible in order to gain the favors of the farmer.
But then day 1001 arrives. It is 2 days before Thanksgiving and when the farmer shows up, he is not bearing food, but an axe. Turkey learned very quickly that its expectations were catastrophically off the mark. On Thanksgiving Day, Turkey gets more attention than he has ever received before, he is taking center stage as the main dish at the dinner table.
Let’s not be turkeys. The moral of the story is not to use the observable past as an indicator of the future. Just because you never died before, doesn’t mean you are immortal.
And this my dear friend is your Quest.
PS: I am grateful for my family, my friends, my readers, and my followers. Thank you all for your love and continuous support. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Buying one of the seven world wonders as a gift. Imagine being married to a man who uses his fortune to buy you a unique and expensive gift (that you didn’t really want) only to gift it to the public shortly afterward. You can read this fascinating story on history of Yesterday.
The most famous bird in the world tweets all day and all night long from every corner of the world. Love it or hate it, the world will continue to tweet. The history of Twitter is fascinating from podcasting to social networking, to political influencer to BIG money playground. Elon Musk’s takover of Twitter was yesterday’s news. There is a lot of buzz at the moment in the twittersphere regarding the collapse of FTX. Find out all about this in my latest article published today on History of Yesterday.