How To Change Your Life (5 Steps)

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1. Take Care Of Your Body

No matter what you do in your life, you will do it in your body. You cannot replace it, get a new one, or trade it in. This is your body and your will live in it.

If you take care of it now, it will take care of you when you are 60, 70 or 80 years old.

The way to take care of your body is simple. Eat less & exercise more.

Spend 30 – 60 Minutes Each Day Exercising. 

This does not mean that you join a gym and start pumping weights. It means that you work every muscle in your body.

Spend conscious time to move the muscles in your arms, back and legs. Take the time to join a gym and workout and use your muscles.

That’s the first thing to take care of the body. Learn this habit first.

Spend 30 – 60 minutes each day exercising.

Eat Food That Is Fresh & Healthy

The next step to take care of your body is to eat well. Treat your body like a home. This is the home where you live.

If you bring good things to this home the home will become nicer and you’ll enjoy living in it. If you bring rotten stuff into this home the home will decay and you’ll hate living there.

So eat good stuff. Eat as much fresh fruits & vegetables as you can everyday. Include a fruit and vegetables in your diet. This will give you the energy that you need.

Play A Sport That You Like Everyday

This is something that will help you relax your mind. That can get you moving physically and get you out of your head and present in the moment.

Something that you do physically, like Tennis or Basketball. The benefit of these sports (or other sports) is that you get out of your head and get in the moment.

The rush of the moment will help your mind relax for a minute and focus on the right now instead of being stuck on analyzing the past or estimating the future.

Additionally the competition will rejuvenate you. Competition in life is how we grow. The more competition we have the sharper, faster, better we become.

Taking up a sport will give you the immediate rush of competition, the instant feedback of success or failure and you will grow.

Avoid Junk Food

Junk food as the name suggests is junk. It’s useless, worthless for the body.

If you feed your body with junk food, you will become lethargic, you will lose energy and over a period of time you will gain weight and lose health.

Eat food that is free of preservatives, sugar, corn, syrup and overly loaded with salt and carbs.

2. Take Care of Your Mind

Your mind is the one thing that controls your thoughts everyday and the thoughts that you think create the reality that you see around you.

So take care of your mind.

But how do you take care of your mind?

The mind, like anything else, has the characteristics of a muscle. You use it or lose it. And as long as you are using it, it will remain fit and healthy. The minute you stop using it, it will decay and rust.

So you keep this muscle active by doing the following.

Read Every Day

There is no difference between the person who does not read and the one who cannot read. Spend 30 minutes each morning and night reading.

Read motivational books. Books about philosophy, economics, politics, literature. Read fiction. Read self-help books. Read about parenting, read about health. Read about science and technology.

But read a book not a blog.

A book has a very permanent nature. It is written with a lot of thought and research. It is the gist of an author’s life experiences. So read a book everyday.

This will keep your mind stimulated and open to ideas. You will get a number of ideas for each author that you can implement in your life. You will also get opinions from across the globe.

Ideas that would not have reached you if you only spoke to the people you met everday. So read a book. Spend 30 minutes morning and night reading a book.

Write Every Day 

The only way to bring your thoughts to reality is to write them down. If you don’t write them down they will be lost to the electric impulses inside your brain.

So write your thoughts down, write ideas that come to you, write your philosophy about life.

Write every day. This will help you clear your thought and formulate complete ideas.

If you have a problem. Write it down. You will be able to come up with a solution better, once you’ve written down the problem.

If you have a crush on someone. Write it down. Write down the things that you like about that person, how it makes you feel, what you would do for them.

All these things when written down will help clarify your thoughts about love and life, about right and wrong.

Writing will help identify truths about your thoughts and define how you think. As you progress in your writing, read about writing better. Then write better.

The better you write, the better you will think.

Develop Your Mind In Other Ways

The more neural connections your mind has the better it is.

You can create new neural connections in your mind by doing new things. The more ‘new’ things you try the more your brain will become developed.

Even if you suck at something – the experience of doing it, learning the rule, trying it out will develop your mind.

Listen to and watch things that will develop you mind. Instead of watching TV, watch TED Talks.

Instead of listening to ‘distressing’ music, listen to sweet, kind music. Listen to Mozart, listen to Beethoven.

Plan to learn a new skill every year. Pick up playing an instrument one year. Spend time learning this instrument like this will be something that you will play all your life.

The next year learn to play a new sport. Something that you’ve never tried before. This will both help your muscles improve and improve your mind.

Avoid Junk In Your Mind

Just like your body needs good food to run, your mind needs good fuel to run.

If you feed your mind with junk ‘input’ like mindless television, excessive drama, or constant news coverage whether TV or newspapers, your mind will become lethargic and fatigued.

You will lose the will to do things, since your mind will associate doing things with depressing sad news.

So avoid all news, whether TV or Newspapermen’s. This will give you space in your head to do things that will help build up your mind.

Take a look at the world news for today. Pick up the newspaper and read the editorials in your newspaper. Then go online and read the newspapers of the country that those editorials were about.

The opinions in those editorials will be completely different.

So while it’s great to be exposed to different points of view, you won’t get them in the news. The news will only report the ‘bad’ news, using shock, anxiety and fear.

A better way to get exposure of other people cultures, mental stimulation, and discover what’s going outside your own home is to travel, or meet other people.

You wont miss what’s happening in the news – people will tell you anyway.

Avoid all of the news, political, celebrity, current affairs. Nothing in the news will impact your life on a daily basis. If there is something that impacts you – you will hear it from your friends and family before you see it on the news.

Excessive news will only stress a 24 year old and make them feel like they can’t do anything, or become indifferent to the sufferings of others. A better idea is to discover issues afflicting the community where you live.

If you think a TV show is good – write down what you like about the show, then go out and experience that for yourself. Go meet people do some stuff in the real world.

This will give you the habit of becoming an action taker, getting in the game, instead of sitting on the sidelines watching others.

If you like House of Cards – go volunteer with a political campaign to learn what really happens there, instead of watching someone else version of real life.

If you like Mad Men, intern for an advertising agency in your town. Learn in the real world – not sitting on your couch. Sure your friends will have a lot of opinions about what ‘cool’ stuff you’re missing out, but while they are warming the couches, you will actually be having more fun than they are.

You’ll be living – not watching life from a couch.

So avoid junk food for your mind and give it the resources to build itself.

3. Take Care Of Your Relationships

How do you get a friend, by being a friend.

You are born with a very few people in your life. Your parents. Your siblings. Your grandparents, if they are still alive. Your cousins, if you are close to them.

Every other relationship in your life you have to go out and create. You make friends along the way. Some of them are good, some of them are not so good.

These friends that you make in your journey through life will become your support system. the people you meet everyday, from the grocer, to the kid working at Best Buy.

Sure, at 24 you’re probably thinking, ‘who gives a f*&K about these people…’ but down the line it is these people, these relationships that will matter most to you in your life.

The way to take care of your relationships is as follows

Remember Birthdays & Anniversaries

Even if your friends tell you they don’t celebrate birthdays. Even if your family become sullen when you call them for anniversaries. Remember them.

Even though people say they don’t care, everyone cares about their own special days. When you remember their birthday & anniversaries, they will remember your kindness.

But it doesn’t end there. Remember the special moments in their lives. If they had a kid, remember the date and call them, or write them a card on that occasion.

Yes, even in the day of email, and text. A phonecall or a card have a HUGE impact than a Facebook message or text. Over the years your kindness for others in the form of remembering their special days will snowball and you will become a powerhouse.

It is good to know that some one cares about you – both for them and for you, when you are in trouble, or they are.

Remember when they had hard times in their lives. If they were close to their grandparents and they recently passed away. Remember them on that day. Help your friends get over these moments.

When you need them, when your loved ones leave you, your friends will be there to catch you before you fall.

Forgive Them Before They Ask For Forgiveness

In the long scheme of life small things don’t matter. It doesn’t matter if your friend forgot to tell you first about their new job. Or they didn’t tell you about the girl they were proposing to.

Be a gentleman and forgive them in your heart even before they ask for forgiveness. Then let the incident go. They will realize you are a big hearted person and treat you like that.

But when you do this – don’t resent them after. Really forget the incident and forgive them.

This is more for you, than for them. If you keep holding onto every single hurt that any one has done for you then your baggage will become so heavy you won’t be able to go through the door.

You’ll be stuck inside your own head and no one will want to be around you. No one will want to trip on your baggage.

But if you do forgive them and forget the incidents you will be free. Your carefree nature will be reflective in everything that you do and everyone will want to be around you.

Avoid Emotional Vampires

No matter how good you are to people, occasionally there will be some who are vampires. They suck all the time and energy out of you.

Sometimes you will encounter them at your workplace. Some of them will be your childhood friends, or even a member of your family.

No matter what you do, you can’t change them, you can’t help them improve, you cannot guide them.

So the best thing to do with people like this is to avoid them. Though it might hurt you in the beginning, but the best thing for you and them is to avoid them.

You can be kind and make an excuse for not meeting them, but that will only last so long. So take the bigger step and let them know that they are an emotional strain on you – and you’d much rather hang out with more positive people.

People who support your goals, your dreams, your aspiration. People who share your ambitions and values. These are the people who will really help you grow.

The vampires will get hurt – but there is no better way to deal with them. The sooner you take care of them the better.

Really dig deep and find out the people who bother you in your life like that and then stop meeting them and hanging out with them.

CAUTION: If it turns out that everyone in your life seems to be a vampire you either need to change them all, or look inside yourself and change yourself.

4. Take Care Of Your Finances

No matter how you grew up, in abundance or poverty, it is your duty to take care of your own finances.

Even if you parents have taken care of them for you, even if you have a trust fund, even if you have an empty bank account. You are responsible for it. It is your responsibility to take care of your finances.

If you take care of your finances starting today they will take care of you when you most need them. When you are old, or sick, or sending your kids to school, or helping a parent through sickness. Your finances will help you.

But how do you take care of your finances

Get Positive Cashflow

To begin taking care of your finances you need to have more income than you spend. You need to have more money coming in to your bank account than you are spending.

As long as you have a positive cashflow you can get other things in your life a lot easier. If you don’t have positive cashflow in your life spend the next year or two getting positive cashflow.

Spend the next 15 minutes figuring out how much money you spend, include rent for the house you live in (or your contribution if you’re living with parents), utilities, groceries, car, internet, other monthly expenses, insurance, and monthly spending on shopping & entertainment.

Once you have your expenses take them out of your income. If you have no income – then you have a negative cashflow. Do whatever you can, teach other people, pick up a 2nd job, mow lawns. Whatever you have to do to get this to positive cash flow.

What do you do after you have positive cashflows?

Pay Yourself First

Every cent you earn will be spent by other people for you. The government will want its cut in the form of taxes. The bank will ask for the mortgage payment, insurance, car payments… and so on. Until you don’t have anything left in your account.

So before this happens, pay yourself first.

Get into a retirement scheme where they take 5 – 10% from your salary and put it into a gratuity and provident fund. Then when you get your salary, take another 5 – 10% and put them into another account.

This account is your retirement account – also known as F*&K You money.  This is the money that will give you the balls to say F*&K you to anyone you want to.

But a word of warning… You can’t just get a small amount and then stop. This is a lifetime practice. You have to keep adding to this account. Until it becomes big enough that you can invest this into assets that make money for you.

This is money that you only spend on assets that make money. Like a house you put up for rent, or government bonds, or dividend funds, or buying a profitable business etc.

Financial Sinkholes To Avoid

If anything sounds too good to be true – it probably is.

A few things to avoid when you’re taking care of your finances.

The Stock Market – Most people will tell you to invest in it – don’t invest.

Investing in the stock market as a habit is not a very productive habit.

When you do well you’ll be on top of the world, when you don’t do too well, you’ll become anxious, stressed, even suicidal.

It is the job of people on Wall Street to make money investing, yet they sometimes fail. They are professionals, very good at their jobs. 99 out of 100, professionals will beat a hobbyist.

In wall street you are always playing against a professional. In a sport you will play most days with people on your own caliber. So you’ll win some, you’ll lose some. On wall street you’ll lose a ton.

Credit Cards – Yes, even the lovely credit cards. These are probably the worst things invented since the dawn of time. Credit cards don’t increase your spending power – they just make it seem that your spending power has increased. You still have to pay for what you bought, plus interest.

A better alternative is to save for what you want – then when you have the cash then go buy the thing that you wanted to buy.

This has 3 benefits

1) The thing will in all likelihood be cheaper by the time you’ve saved for it

2) There will be a newer shinier model that you can now buy based on the money you saved.

3) You will realize that you didn’t want it in the first place anyway and were buying it on an impulse.

5. Take Care Of Your Communication

The biggest problems in the world arise because of mis-communication. People mis-understand each other.

Spouses fight because they don’t understand what was being said.

Employees get fired because of a communication error.

Friends fight because of something that was mis-understood.

Communication errors cause major problems in relationships between friends, employees, board members and even countries.

So take care of your communication. Become a communication master. Become some one who can communicate clearly and effectively. Not just in your speaking, but in your writing, in your thoughts.

But how do you improve your communication?

Communicate At The 6th Grade Level

Yes, at the 6th grade level. This is one of the most important thing you can do for your communication. If you can explain things to a 10 year old you can explain them to anyone.

You might think that most ‘educated’ people will get turned off by this. But the truth is even most educated people think at the 6th grade level. When they are reading research papers, or grading Ph.D thesis will they get into the ‘educated’ mind and think this is stupid.

Just by communicating at this level, your communication will be understood every time. Your kids will understand you, your parents will listen to you, your employers will ‘get’ you.

In fact by communicating at this level every one around you will think you are wise that you are able to explain complex ideas in the simplest of manner.

Learn The Vocabulary Of Whatever You Are Doing

By learning the vocabulary of what you are doing you will learn faster. You will be understood quicker. Your responses will be on point.

Every profession, sport, online forum, clique, had a different vocabulary. The faster you learn this vocabulary and use it in your conversations the quicker you will rise.

If you play tennis, learn every thing that the pros are saying. Learn their meaning and then when you talk to your friends at tennis using the vocabulary will enhance your game.

The same applies to your profession. The sooner you learn the vocabulary of the profession the faster you will progress. But this isn’t a technique, use it to enhance your overall vocabulary.

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Four Secrets

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We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing

There are only Four Secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success.

  1. You have to laugh and find humor every day.
  2. You’ve got to have a dream.
    When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!
  3. There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.
    If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.
    If you are eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything you will turn eighty-eight.
    Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change.

  4. Have no regrets.
    The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what they did, but rather for things they did not do!
    The only people who fear death are those with regrets.

    Remember: Growing Older is Mandatory but Growing Up is Optional 🙂

Mind Ramblings…

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Our world is governed by a ‘simple fact’. You can also call it a ‘rule’. That, there is a certain life of everything, and then it ends.  A specific time limit, after which it stops. Literally everything from living to non-living. And we know we can do nothing to make this ‘ticking clock’ stop AND save ourselves simultaneously.

Due to the frustration from the feeling of incapacity in this matter, we try to CREATE things that outlast our lifetimes. So that they appear to be immortal to us, a feeling that we know we can never have.

This is also why We plan things ahead of us, sometimes trying to make our futures ourselves. Making ourselves feel that we have a grip over what is going to happen next.

And by the time, we are confident enough, feeling that we have figured our way ‘out of it’, we learn that there is no point in trying to stop time, or outlive everyone and everything. Whatever we do, wherever we go, we are not going to be forever.

Another beauty of human nature is, that it chooses deliberately to ignore this simple fact or rule and pretend that there is nothing of this sort going on. We become just like the pigeon closing its eyes trying to tell itself that there is no cat standing in front.

Those who translate this Frustration, into Motivation to do more and more in their life-times, happen to actually make an effect onto this world. This right here is the secret to most of the success stories that we hear.

Make most out of your time‘ is not just a saying or a lesson, but it also gives us the force to realize another simple fact: ‘All is Well that ends well’ …

The Psychological Experiment

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In the year 1967, a team of psychologists led by a man named Stephenson, carried out an experiment. They gave it the title of “Social Transmission of Acquired Behavior“.

This experiment is very famous and quoted frequently in various psychological discussions, so be patient while reading it if you have heard about it or have read it earlier somewhere.

So, this group of scientists placed a fixed number (5) of monkeys in a cage. In this cage there was a ladder in the center, with a couple of bananas on top of it. So, whenever a monkey climbed that ladder to get bananas, the scientists soaked all monkeys with freezing water showers. This kept happening for quite some time, until the other monkeys now started beating up the monkey that would go up on the ladder because they had learnt the secret of the ice-cold showers 😛

So, no one went upstairs now without getting an ice-cold shower and a heavy beating by his fellow monkeys. After some more time, no monkey tried to go for the banana that was just sitting up on top of the ladder.

Now, these scientists removed one of the monkeys and replaced him with a new monkey guy that was oblivious to that little experiment. As expected, the new monkey made his way quickly to the ladder and aimed for the bananas, only to be dragged down by other monkeys and beaten badly. (The scientists decided to stop using the ice-cold and freezing showers this time)

After taking several beatings by his fellow monkey brothers, the new monkey guy also learnt not to mess with the ladder or the bananas because he knew that for some reason, all the other monkeys didn’t like that at all!

Now, the scientists took another monkey (from the old 4 monkeys) and replaced him with another newbie. Again, this new fellow followed in the footsteps of his immediate senior and after some beatings, got educated enough not to go for the ladder. The monkey that didn’t receive any cold shower also participated in the beating of this newbie, though he did not know why. The cold-shower system was discontinued for good now by the scientists.

Working on the same pattern, the scientists sequentially replaced all the monkeys from the initial pack of 5 who received cold-showers, with brand new inmates who had never been hit by any freezing water, but had taken beatings without knowing the reason.

In the final act, scientists introduced another fresh monkey into the cage. Now, this latest monkey went for the ladder too and suffered the same fate as of his predecessors, but the interesting thing was, that now all 4 monkeys in the cage who beat the shit out of this new guy, had no clue why they were doing it, and the latest monkey also didn’t have any clue either…

The cage was now full of 5 monkeys that even though had not received any cold-showers, would beat up any monkey who tried to climb the ladder.

If you are doing something, you should know WHY you are doing it, otherwise, there ain’t much difference between you and a wise-ass monkey!

Allowing the Disrespect of our Prophet (PBUH)

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This issue is not a ‘one of its kind’, neither has it happened for the first time ever. From the Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie, Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ film ‘Fitna’, The blasphemous Danish cartoons and the hurtful words of Tasleema Nasreen, this practice of triggering the anger of Islamic world in the name of so-called freedom of speech has now been going on for more than 2 decades now. For a moment, let us take these people, who are responsible for blasphemy, out of the discussion and look at the reaction of the Muslims all over the world. This issue, undoubtedly, is of utmost significance and a direct attack on Islam, its ideology and its sanctity. All kinds of protests can be seen and heard about from all around the world against this malicious episode, some of them violent, some very peaceful and others, very violent! Though nothing can justify killing or terrorizing people and destroying public property, it can be understood logically as the evident conclusion of the reaction of people who just got their most respected, loved and revered figure disrespected.

But lets look at this issue from a different perspective. We, being Muslims, believe that respecting and loving our Holy Prophet (PBUH) to the utmost level is an obligatory requirement and foundation of Islam. A person cannot be considered a Muslim until he or she regards our Holy Prophet (PBUH) as THE best human being to ever walk on the surface of earth and consider his word to be final and an authority. Now if we, who believe in this philosophy, openly go against the teachings of our Holy Prophet (PBUH), then this disrespect is much worse than the blasphemous actions or words of somebody who does not believe in his teachings in the first place!

We can look around us in the society in which we live that ‘Riba‘ (Interest) is driving our economy even at the micro level. Now we all know that according to the teachings and saying of our Holy Prophet (PBUH), this is compared to as ‘waging an open war against Allah and His Prophet (PBUH)‘. Yet we keep following this and participating in this system. This is just one example and if we analyze ourselves, as a nation, based on many other teachings of our Prophet (PBUH) we will evidently come to the conclusion that we are definitely going against many of his teachings and sayings.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:

 

– “Actions are judged by Intentions

-“Allah will not give mercy to anyone, except those who give mercy to other creatures”

-“Say what is true, although it may be bitter and displeasing to people”

-“Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith”

-“When you see a person who has been given more than you in money and beauty, look to those, who have been given less

-“The worst people in the Sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be the double faced people who appear to some people with one face and to other people with another face”

-“Pay the hired worker his wages before his sweat dries”

-“Control your tongue, let your house be enough for you, and weep for your sins”,

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) also said, “By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!” It was said, “Who is that, O Allah’s Apostle?” He said, “That person whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil”

When asked about some great sins, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “They are:– 
(1 ) To join others in worship with Allah, 
(2) To be undutiful to one’s parents
(3) To commit the crime of murdering
(4) And to give a false witness.

In his last sermon, he said:

“…O People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat….”

 

Mentioned above are merely less than 1 percent of the sayings and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and we can even get a picture from reading them that how much today’s society follows these teachings. If we, Muslims, are ourselves not respecting our own prophet by adhering to his sayings, listening and paying heed to his words, what can we expect from the people who don’t even believe in the message conveyed by him?

There are over 1.8 billion Muslims in this world (which makes it over 25% of the total world’s population) and are the majority population in around 50 countries in the world. And the reason that they are helpless about such blasphemous acts around the world, is that they don’t even have the audacity, willingness and dignity to follow the same message themselves, which they regard as the most respectable, true and close to their hearts!

This is about time, that we as a nation, see the writing on the wall and look in the mirror and see our torn, battered and disgusting image. We mark the day as the “Love for the Prophet Day” and then burn the public properties, damage vehicles and burn churches?? What kind of “love for prophet” was flowing out of the banks and ATM’s looted on that fateful day? Who can imagine doing this and more importantly what kind of people can allow this to happen? We are the classic example of Iqbal’s verse saying :

” …  Qalb me Soz nahi, Rooh me Ehsaas nahin

          Kuch bhi Paigham-e-Muhammad(SAW) ka tumhen paas nahin   ….
Till the day when we ourselves take the message, sayings and teachings of our beloved prophet seriously, we are clearly ‘allowing’ the disrespect of our own prophet!

What we ‘normally’ do and how has that affected us abnormally.

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At some stage of our lives or the other, most of us reach a point where we observe our surroundings and the people around us. Then we compare ourselves to these ‘other’ people, who might be our friends, family members, neighbors, business associates or even someone who we just met. It is in the basic nature of a human being to utilize his/her mental prowess to analyze the surroundings, observe the past and present and then make theories regarding the future, based on self-identified factors relating to the observations. Therefore, we compare. We judge ourselves, our own efforts, our sincerity, our commitment and most of all our Ability, relative to the same attributes of the people that we interact with. Right here, unknowingly, we devise a scale, a parameter to evaluate our own status against ‘others’. This path of evaluation leads to a set of almost similar generic conclusions. ‘Feeling sorry’ for  the ones that are in a much worse condition than ourselves. Inspiration or  Jealousy from the ones that are high above in the ‘ranking criteria’ that we devised ourselves! Who is ‘better‘? What is the definition of better? Who decides that someone is better or not and on what scale and why? If happiness/satisfaction/success is directly proportional to money, then there shouldn’t be a single  depressed wealthy person on this planet. All billionaires should be happy and all average money-makers should be crying.

As a Student, in a primary school, we observe our classmates. We start to think almost immediately about the toppers or the below average performers in the class, the ‘others’. We evaluate their behaviors according to our own mental ability and draw conclusions. Right here, we create a divide, a space and a status system, that is basically inherited from our education system that again ‘judges’ children of different mental abilities, different set of skills, different backgrounds and different circumstances on the same curriculum and the same scale!

As a Professional, we always keenly observe the market around us, our suppliers, our customers, our colleagues. In this process, when we are interacting with ‘others’, we observe their way of living and immediately ask ourselves ” How much is he worth? How did he become so successful?  Can I do a similar thing and be at the same level too?

After these judgments, comparisons and evaluations, we may go into different directions. Some of us may get influenced by our own analysis and strive to become the better ‘other’ and avoid being the worse one. Some others may decide that they are better off in their current position and don’t need to do anything or get ‘impressed’. While a bunch of us may also decide to cease this thought process, telling themselves that they don’t have the ability, resources or circumstances necessary to achieve the level of  ‘others’ that are in a much better condition. What this last group doesn’t realizes is that each person can achieve whatever they want if they put in all their efforts. Nothing is impossible. What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we really are.

Our society has become the classic version of materialism and we have developed a habit of judging others and most disturbingly ourselves, according to several different self-developed criteria. When we meet somebody for the first time, we want to notice immediately that what kind of car, mobile, watch or house this person owns. The humanity, morality, personality and quality of attitude are all considered secondary to these material parameters. We are so deeply caught up in this ‘Judgmental Marathon‘ that we have forgotten to glance at our own reflection in the mirror. We are so busy pointing the finger at others that we have ignored the fact that all this time 4 other fingers are pointing at ourselves. The results of this  phenomenon can be seen in the form of intolerance at different levels in the society. May it be religion, politics, business or even day-to-day matters, we want to prove that we are right, and most importantly, that others are wrong! This need of always ‘being right’ is not benefiting us in any manner. Its about time that we realize the difference between evaluation and judgement, and stop judging each other on personal issues. This is the only way that can lead us onto the road of becoming a truly progressive society. A big change in society is required to set the course right for this sinking ship, a lot of effort is needed by each and everyone of us if we want the odds to change in our favor. Special circumstances need special actions too and in this case, just a nominal effort on individual level by all of us will probably do the trick.

“You are wrong!” “No you are wrong!”

Are we living in a computer simulation?

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Are we living in someone else’s fantasy?

The Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi posed this question more than two thousand years ago when he recalled waking from a dream unsure whether he was a man who dreamed he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming that he was a man. Today, with the advent of computers that can simulate cells, cities, and even solar systems, philosophers and scientists are asking this ancient question in a new way: Are we living in a computer simulation?

This question is more than just the premise of “The Matrix.” It’s a conjecture that lives at the intersection of humanity and technology—and though it might seem like philosophy, it spurs ambitious new questions about what computers are capable of and about the nature of reality itself. As theorists begin to think of our universe as nothing more than a vast collection of information, can we ever truly know whether our reality is as “real” as we think it is?

The philosopher Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, posed the latest iteration of this ancient question in a 2003 paper. His “simulation argument” begins with the observation that modern computers have improved at an exponential rate since their invention. If computing power continues to grow at this pace, advanced civilizations will one day be able to build titanic, densely-packed supercomputers capable of doing everything from beating the stock market to predicting the weather months or years in advance. “Post-human” programmers might even use these machines to simulate entire civilizations, vast electronic worlds that would put today’s computer games to shame.

What would it take to create this kind of simulation?

When it comes to simulating a person, scientists estimate it might take 1017 operations per second—that’s one followed by 17 zeroes—to simulate a human brain, based on the number of neurons in the brain and rate of which those neurons “talk” to each other. Assuming that simulating the sensory events a person experiences—every taste, sound, smell, touch and sight that is coded in our neurons—takes about 100 million bits per second, and that approximately 100 billion humans have lived on Earth to date, Bostrom estimates it might take 1036 calculations in total to create a simulation of the whole of human history that is indistinguishable from reality.

That’s just to simulate the parts of the universe that humans can sense. What about the microscopic structure of the Earth’s interior or the subtle features of distant stars? These little details could be safely omitted until a simulated person needed to observe them. In addition, to save computing power, maybe not every person in a simulation would be fully simulated. Perhaps some of the characters in the simulation would be “zombies or ‘shadow-people’—humans simulated at a level sufficient for the fully simulated people to not notice anything suspicious,” Bostrom writes in his paper.

So how close are we to achieving this dream (or nightmare)? Today’s most powerful supercomputers are capable of operating at roughly 10 petaflops per second—that is, 1016 calculations per second. A planet-sized computer based on current electronics might carry out 1042 operations per second. Bostrom also notes that quantum physicist Seth Lloyd of MIT has calculated that a 1-kilogram “ultimate laptop” that operates at the known limits of physics might be capable of 5 × 1050 operations per second. So, the planet-sized computer might be able to simulate all of human history in a millionth of a second; the ultimate laptop, a hundredth of a billionth of a second.

Given that fully simulating every person who has ever lived might only take a tiny fraction of an advanced civilization’s resources, Bostrom reasons that the number of computer-generated minds buzzing away inside simulations could vastly outnumber the total sum of real minds that have ever lived. If that is true, the odds are that we are simulated, not real. It may even be possible that our simulators are themselves simulated, and their simulators are simulated, and so on. “Reality may thus contain many levels,” Bostrom says.

This does not prove that we live in a simulation, Bostrom emphasizes. There are a number of caveats that could stop this bizarre future before it starts. One glum possibility is that civilizations might very well go extinct or collapse—say, by annihilating themselves in a nuclear war—before they can develop supercomputers of such immense power. Another thought is that civilizations simply have no desire to commit the vast resources needed to create supercomputers. Or perhaps advanced civilizations might not indulge in such simulations—maybe they would be ethically opposed to simulating minds and their suffering, or they might prefer to entertain themselves with machines that directly stimulate their brain’s pleasure centers. “Personally, I assign less than 50 percent probability to the simulation hypothesis—rather something like in the 20 percent region, perhaps, maybe,” Bostrom writes, although he describes this as a gut feeling rather than part of his logical argument.

Unless the simulators decide to make themselves known, there may be no way to prove or disprove the simulation argument. Some have suggested looking for “glitches” in the simulation, but such glitches would be more plausibly explained as hallucinations, visual illusions, fraud or self-deception. Even if errors did pop up, a smart simulator could simply wipe any memory of the anomaly from our simulated brains.

If we are living in a computer simulation, how should we live our lives? “The simulation hypothesis currently does not seem to have any radical implications for how one should live,” Bostrom said. Still, “it helps to shed light on, among other things, the prospects of our species.”

Also, thinking of the universe as a computer may actually be a helpful approach in science. “You can start thinking about what kind of computer it is, what kind of operations can it do, what kinds of problems can it solve,” said theoretical computer scientist Scott Aaronson at MIT. “That’s an extraordinarily fruitful way of thinking about the universe that has led to the whole field of quantum computers—devices based on the quantum physics that explains how the fundamental building blocks of the universe behave.”

We may never know whether we are living in someone else’s fantasy; whether we’re the man or the butterfly. But if we do one day develop supercomputers capable of simulating minds and universes, perhaps our creations will be able to answer the question for us…

 

 

 

 

Courtesy: Thoughts of a Curious Mind (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thoughts-of-a-Curious-mind/345123958895008)

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