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Welcome to the 19 new people here since the previous issue, and welcome back to the 590 of you in total.
I use this newsletter as a platform for sharing deeper, more personal thoughts and stories that I haven’t yet found a way to express on other platforms.
And today, I’m going to share with you 7 things that I’ve recently realised I don’t really care so much about anymore.
People doing me wrong and behaving weirdly
Most of the time when someone does us wrong, they’re usually acting in self-defence more than offence.
Everyone has their own way of perceiving the world, and I believe that no one wakes up and inherently thinks to themselves “Let’s do something terrible to Mayank today!”
Now, I’m able to better explain someone’s negative behaviour. That doesn’t mean that I will excuse it or tolerate it — it’s simply an observation of this person’s mental state at a given point in time.
This more stoic view has helped me build more empathy, and also make more rational decisions about my relationships with people.
Small amounts of money
Ever feel terrible when you lose €2 in a vending machine that doesn’t deliver or when you have to pay Rs. 200 more for Uber’s surge pricing? But how do you feel about finding a €2 coin on the floor of a bus, or getting Rs. 200 in extra discounts that you weren’t expecting on Swiggy/Uber Eats?
You feel worse for the loss than how happy to feel with an equivalent gain.
Loss aversion is an economic theory identified by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, which describes this tendency to avoid losses because of a greater pain attached to them.
I learnt about this theory in my first year at HEC Paris, and since then whenever I randomly lose small amounts of money here and there, I remember all the small (and large) amounts of money I’ve equally randomly gained here and there.
Bargaining for commodities
Especially back in India, with street vendors and auto-rickshaw drivers, I made it a rule to simply not bargain. I listen to their price and decide whether it’s a “yes” or a “no” without bargaining for 50-100 rupees (€0.5–€1) here and there.
Granted, this is a result of a position of privilege, but I have two specific reasons for this:
The vendor definitely needs that extra money more than I do. In my own mind I determine my “fair price” of what I’m buying, and any extra I pay I consider as giving a tip, or an “expedition fee” of having what I need without any hassle.
The money I save bargaining is not nearly worth the mental energy of the negotiation. My energy and time is limited, and I’d rather be spending it on more profitable activities instead of trying to save a few bucks.
If I’m going to bargain or negotiate price, I’d rather do it for bigger ticket items where the negotiation will actually save me (or earn me, if I’m selling) significant money — and even the threshold for this will change as the value of my time (and energy) changes.
You know how you have some people that are GREAT friends and you love hanging with them, and some others that are TERRIBLE and you just avoid them? But there’s also a third category of people that are “Ambivalent” — not bad enough for you to ditch entirely, but not great enough that you feel awesome after hanging out, and very inconsistent between times that you hang out with them.
Recently I read a wonderful article on The Art of Manliness about “Ambivalent Relationships” that talks about this exact phenomena, and why this third type is bad for you.
Now I’m very much hell-yes-or-no with people. If I get a great vibe, I’ll hang with them more often. If it’s anything less than that, I’ll reduce how much I hang with them to match the vibe, or stop hanging out altogether.
I’d rather spend a Friday or Saturday evening alone than in the company of people I’m not vibing with.
Being super efficient all the time
These days, I’m happy to not be super productive or effective 100% of the time.
I understand that there are periods that I’m very effective — usually periods with lots of production and output — those are my “sprint” periods.
Then there are times when I’m walking — usually periods with lots of learning, reading, consuming — those are my “walk” periods.
Other times I’m just resting. Entire day spent at home chilling out, or travelling, or outside with friends.
I acknowledge when I’m in a certain state, and then I embrace it without having any expectations of being in another state.
I also understand that I can be in a certain state for hours, days or weeks. Sometimes even months, on a macro level — and that’s OK. The last few weeks I’ve been in a rest state, and while it was a bit weird for me in the beginning, I learnt to embrace it.
This allows me to rest effectively, work effectively, and learn effectively.
In the past, whenever I’d travel, the first priority would be the place — i.e. exploring, seeing everything there is to see, making sure I did all the things I should be doing.
Now, whenever I travel, the first priority is myself. I don’t force myself to do anything I don’t feel like doing in that moment. If I feel like spending an entire day at a cafe, I do that.
If I feel like just walking around, I do that. If I feel like stopping and talking to people, I do that. If I feel like not talking to anyone, I do that.
Recently, when I was in New York, I made no plans at all for my time there. I just showed up, and decided to do what I felt. It was great.
Did I see everything I could see in a week? No. Did I have a good time? Yes.
This is another stoic view I’ve been trying to imbibe — to have no expectations, especially out of people. Anything anyone does for me is a bonus — I don’t expect anything.
I try and keep a more observatory perspective on other people. Anything anyone does or doesn’t do, is something to learn from about that person. I use it to form my judgement on that person, and decide how I’m going to respond.
I legitimately teared up at the end of this video. You need to watch it.
Video of The Week
I published this video 2 months ago, and recently it’s been blowing up in the algorithm — it crossed 100K views a few days ago, and it keeps getting more views, which is insane.
There are more apartment tours incoming!
For reading this far. For subscribing. For supporting me. I’m very grateful.
See you in the next one!
I can relate to all 7, especially the one about Loss aversion, it opened my mind to a new way of thinking about my losses.
I think it's also very much applicable in our day to day life.
It tells us that we can find happiness even from the little things in life and how a positive outlook can do wonders to anybody.