Learn December 2012

“Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself”
— from As a man thinketh, by James Allen

This month, I spent just over a week being ill (man flu, sore throat, cold, whatever you want to call it), holed up in hostels. But that also gave me plenty of time to read, so I managed to read 5 books (some of which were shorter, so a question of a few hours). I list them in order of quality or usefulness:

As a man thinketh by James Allen (free book)
A book about how the way you think influences your body, character, circumstances and ultimately, your goals and achievements. Very good read, full of inspiring quotes.

Think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill (free book)
Considered one of the first self-help books, it´s a summary of lessons that helped great men (Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison etc) achieve their goals.

The essence of buddhism by David Tuffley
A very short summary of what buddhism is about. Very short 🙂

Luxury for less by Karol Gajda
Interesting take on how to live a life of minimalism, eat and be healthy and generally be successful and happy in your life.

Tattoo: a poorly researched history by Steve Reynolds
Weird book that´s more like a stand up about tattoo history than actual history of tattooing. Hint was in the title I guess.

And now on to other random things I learned this month:

  • During a random encounter on the roof of a hostel in Nazca, I learned about options trading, from a 50 something guy from Holland. A week later, I was sending filled out forms to my broker, let´s see if I can make anything out of it :). I am also getting much better at this trading business. Interested in trading whilst on the go, or just trading (whilst working at your job?) I wrote a post about how it works.
  • I also watched a couple more videos on http://www.ted.com whilst being ill, these are the good ones:
  • I learned, that we spend all our life learning to be unhappy – we focus on outcomes, getting somewhere, but we forget about the process of getting there – what matters is the process, not the outcome. Whatever the outcome will be, invest in the process. This presentation by Srikumar Rao tells you why.
  • A funny speech by Michael Shermer, guy behind www.skeptic.com about how easily we believe in strange, unlikely or plain stupid things. For example, there´s no face on mars, sorry to ruin it for you…
  • I had my highest romantic encounter ever – at over 4100 metres above the sea :). Can you beat that?
  • Learned how to make wristbands with strings. Hm….maybe I can russle something funky with this and my beard…?sandboarding huacachina peru snowboarding on sand
  • I snowboarded on sand! Well, sandboarded.
  • I saw a wild black bear eating something on a tree at Machu Picchu!
  • I am getting better with my swimming (and fear of water…). Practiced swimming in the pool of my hostel in Rurrenbaque. One of my goals this year is to get shit hot at swimming, it´s been hindering some experiences of my life for long enough!
  • I finally learned how to make the blues sound on my harmonica. I also learned that I was trying to learn it in probably the worst harmonica ever, so going to invest in quality now! (My one was 2 USD, I bought it after they stole my Hohner one back in August).
  • I experienced the best mix of cultures at the Guerreros de Arco Iris ceremony on Isla del Sol for the 21st of December. It was the most eclectic mix of people I´ve ever seen: people from all over the world, travelers like me, street artists and musicians, politicians and bolivian celebrities met with locals in their folklore dresses, music and customs, and we all had the best time. The festival involved a whole day of dancing, singing and various ceremonies of cultures from Bolivia, Peru, Mexico and many other countries, some speeches by the president and other politicians and climbing a mountain at 5 in the morning to watch the sunrise of a new era with everyone involved.
isla del sol, copacabana bolivia

At the top of the mountain, just before sunrise

isla del sol bolivia copacabana locals photo


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