For every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful.- source

I believe in karma.

I like the idea of karma. The idea that the consequences of your actions affect future events sounds very appealing to me. If we all acted as if our actions would come back to haunt us, it might encourage us to ponder longer before we act.

Karma might even encourage people to commit random acts of kindness. Smiling to a stranger on your way to work. Holding the door to someone carrying bags of groceries. Calling with happy birthday wishes. Calling just to say hi.

If you believed in karma, you’d also believe that the more good vibrations you send ‘out there’, the more chances you have of receiving luck and happiness. So you’d try to be as kind as you can, for no specific reason. Wouldn’t it be neat if everyone did that?

On Friday, Jake and I saw Vanilla Sky. A movie with Tom Cruise and Jason Lee was already too good to be true. Even if it had absolutely no point, I would have easily paid the twenty bucks for two hours of watching my two favorite male actors. But, as an added bonus, the movie turned out to be a trip.

I don’t want to give away the twisty ending, so I won’t tell you a major premise of the movie. But in the end, it was about consequences. About showing that each move you make can alter your potential future. That each action, even if seemingly small, has consequences, and if you don’t consider them, you might have to pay for them. You will have to pay for them.

Yet how many of us really think of our actions? I mean, really think about them. Each time we don’t reply to a kind email or return a phone call. When we cut in front of someone in traffic or don’t wait to hold the elevator for someone walking down the hall. When we tell small, white lies that are supposedly for the good of the other person. When we act like we care even though we know we don’t. When we fake listening while we think of other things. How many of us ponder the consequences of our selfishness? ,

Too few, if you ask me.

There’s no such thing as a meaningless act. Everything has consequences.

Previously? Point of No Return.

The Wrong Path

Aren’t you sick of my happiness class just yet?

Well, the good news is that next week is my last class. The bad news is that here comes another happiness entry:

In yesterday’s class, we talked about taking the wrong path, making bad choices. My teacher mentioned conversing with women in their forties who tell him that had it not been for their marriage and children, they could have been successful and had a better life.

If only…

What a crock of crap, if you ask me. First of all, there’s absolutely no guarantee that their life would have turned out well had they not married and had offspring. What seems to be a successful career can disappear overnight (as too many people are finding out recently). We never really know where an unchosen path would have lead us. We only know the outcome of the chosen path, and not even much of that.

The other part of the point that bothers me is the assumption that the initial decision of marriage and children over career was not actually a choice but a pre-made decision. It implies that either the woman wasn’t allowed to make the choice, or worse, that she decided on that option without even having thought about it too much.

I could swear that I wrote an entry on making choices and how everything is about a priority chosen over another one, but I can’t find it. The fact is, every decision we make matters. Each decision deserves thought and careful consideration. There’s something to be said for the value of spontaneity but major decisions that are guaranteed to alter the course of your life deserve some premeditation. It’s highly possible that a tiny, seemingly minor decision turns your life upside down, but such is life.

It seems to me that if you go through life without thinking about your choices, if they go wrong, you’ll end up full of regret, like the women my teacher mentioned. This is your life. Make your own decisions. Because, in the end, you’re responsible for them.

Whether you like it or not.

Previously? Not Exactly a Stranger.

Tracking Happiness

As promised, I think it’s time to talk about keeping track.

One of the subjects that came up in the happiness class has been figuring out what would make you happy and making a list of steps on how to get there.

To me, this is wrong on so many levels.

Let’s start with the first assumption: that you can figure out what would make you happy. I mean if it were that easy wouldn’t everyone do it? The weird fact about happiness, in my opinion, is that what you think will make you happy changes continuously. In the simplest sense, when we’re planning to buy something, especially something we’ve coveted for a long time, we think owning that thing will make us so happy. Like a computer or a camera. (Or maybe if you’re less geeky, a different set of items) And it does make us happy. For about five minutes. Okay, maybe longer. Two hours. Two days. Two weeks. Two years, maybe. But never permanently.

Believe it or not, I think the same rule applies to more significant goals. If you think a certain job will make you happy, or a college acceptance, once you achieve it, it often doesn’t make you as happy as you thought it would. Even a person who made you happy loses its magic after a while. I think, often, it’s more fun to covet. Once we reach the goal, we often start taking it for granted.

I think it’s excruciatingly difficult to know what would make you happy.

Even operating under the assumption that you could figure out what would make you happy, coming up with a list of items that would help you reach the goal isn’t always realistic. If your ‘happiness goal’ is something tangible like getting a job, you could possibly make a list of steps to help you get that job. What if what made you happy was ‘forgiving your father’ or ‘getting over an ex girlfriend’? These are not goals that can easily be broken down into steps. There are things one can do to reach these goals, but since the end result is not tangible, there’s no guarantee that you even reached it. How do you know you’re really over her? You could easily think you are and then run into her in the street and realize that you weren’t over her at all. Not all goals can conveniently be broken down to small steps that will lead you to them. Not all goals are even achievable.

Even moving beyond that unrealistic assumption, I still find the idea of tracking your steps to happiness too practical. To me, happiness is an emotion, not a logical thought. It’s a feeling. It doesn’t necessarily adhere to rules of reason. I can’t imagine reaching happiness by checking off a list of items. Contentment maybe. Sense of success, progress or achievement, maybe.

But not pure happiness.

Previously? Boundless.


Ready for another happiness entry? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Bertrand Russell says something to the effect of how we should keep our expectations low. If you want happiness and reach for an achievable goal, you’re likely to reach your goal and thus feel happy. Which sounds pretty reasonable at first look.

Then again, who wants to be reasonable?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this happiness thing. Having almost reached the end of the class, I must say that there are two major facts I’ve learned:

1. There are no quick formulas to happiness.
2. Most of the philosophers believed happiness was unreachable, could only be reached through religion or required a stringent regime of everyday self-brainwashing.

None of the above options are all that appealing to me.

The practical advice of “keep your expectations low” clashes with the ambition and optimism of “reach for the skies.” I agree that if you keep your expectations really high, you’re likely to never reach them and thus not feel fulfilled. But is that worse than never expecting much from yourself to begin with?

Russell does place a tremendous value on striving. He believes you should always be learning new things and working to achieve something. Considering how amazing he was, his idea of “aiming low” might be a lot higher than I am imagining. I hope it is because the idea of people having to aim low to stay happy is quite depressing to me.

If we all aimed low and didn’t reach for things that appeared beyond the horizon, how would anything get done? I am willing to admit that different people have different ranges and we’re not all equal in our abilities, but we all have ranges and I’ve always advocated working towards being on the high end of one’s range. I feel like a person can’t really know his range until he tries to push against its boundaries.

Aiming low feels like playing with the cards we’re dealt. Which, at one point, might have sounded like good advice to me, but now it doesn’t. I know that the cards we’re dealt don’t mean everything. Like in a game of poker, we can turn some of them in for new ones. There might be a few we’re stuck with but not as many as most people make it out to be. And what’s the fun in playing the same hand over and over again?

Keeping track is another subject matter that I somehow cannot correlate with happiness. Contentment, maybe but not happiness. But that’s for another day.

For me happiness is feeling more than content. Happiness is achieved when you reach something you didn’t think you would. When you tried really hard, when you put yourself out there on the ledge. When you reached higher than you thought you could. That’s when success is extraordinary. That’s when one gets overwhelmed with happiness.

Or maybe I’m wrong and stuck with eternal unhappiness.

Previously? I Have No Idea.


A person should be satisfied with his life not because he feels satisfied, but because he has good reason to be satisfied. – Bertrand Russell

I haven’t talked about the happiness class in a while. I like Bertrand Russell cause I agree with many of his thoughts and statements. Mostly because they are so common-sensical.

I haven’t read enough of him to say whether I agree with all of his thoughts or not, but I know I like the comments about satisfaction. The terrible thing about most of the people around me is that they have amazing lives and yet they are never satisfied. They live in anticipation. They keep waiting for the next step. The promotion. The raise in salary. More people reporting to them. The bonus.

There is no time to sit and ponder the current situation. There is no time to celebrate. There is no time to appreciate. Life is moving at an unbelievable speed. They need to live in anticipation of the next move. They need to worry about the next step and make sure they’re not passed up for the promotion. There is no time to be satisfied. Satisfaction requires a different point of view. It requires one to slow down and deliberate.

Even if they managed to slow down, they’d never notice the problem. Their views are too distorted. They have absolutely no concept of how much money is ‘enough.’ They don’t know what success is. They don’t understand that life is passing them by and that they’re giving up their youth to corporate America. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing with working in corporate America or making a lot of money. But there is something wrong with a twenty-some year-old who doesn’t think that 100grand is a lot of money. There’s something wrong with a kid who’s only six years out of college and doesn’t appreciate the power of having forty people report to him.

These people have long forgotten the feeling of satisfaction. Which is why I find Russell’s words sensible. It’s not about how you feel, it’s about how things are. If you can’t see it clearly, ask around. Try to remove your distorting glasses and look again. I’m not simply saying “Be glad you have arms and legs” though that’s a more valid point than most make it out to be. I’m not saying be satisfied if you don’t have a home to go to. I’m just saying that most of us have an incredible amount to be satisfied about and, for some reason, many of us can’t seem to recognize that. I think we’re so busy running around, trying to achieve the next thing that we can’t feel satisfied. Or the satisfactions are too short and in between struggles.

So maybe Russell’s right. It’s not about feeling satisfied, it’s about being satisfied because you have much reason to and maybe it’s not a good idea to involve feelings. Maybe it’s just a matter of being rational.

Previously? TV.

To Have or Not To Have

Another Monday, another happiness day.

We started the class talking about Aristotle, objectivism, stoics, and Bertrand Russell. As it’s now become foreseeable, the class started on one topic but another one took it over completely. Here’s today’s topic:

“Is it better to have had it and lost it than to have never had it at all?”

Yes, you are reading it correctly and no, I didn’t leave out the word ‘love.’ This question is meant to apply to all topics. For example: Let’s say you had an amazing job, your dream job, and then you get fired. Is it better to have had the job or do you wish you never had it? The argument against having had it says that since you now know what you could be having, you become very depressed after losing it. Whereas if you never had it, you will never know what you are missing and therefore you’ll never be that miserable. Especially since happiness and misery are relative, which is conversation for another day.

The argument for it basically says that happiness, no matter when you had it, is valuable and it’s always better to have been lucky enough to have had any happiness. A common saying does involve love. ‘It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved.’ Or something like that. Again, the idea, I believe, is that if you’ve ever loved, you’ve been lucky enough to feel the amazing elation that comes along with love and no matter how things ended, you should feel blessed to have ever gotten to feel it.

I side with the ‘better to have had it’ people.

To me, life is all about the experience, the journey. Another gentleman in class today said he never makes specific plans because this way he doesn’t have to feel upset when he doesn’t fulfill them. He has this very general plan and takes each day as it comes. There is nothing wrong with his approach, but it’s one I strongly oppose to. I firmly believe that big risks bring big rewards. If you never put yourself out there because you’re too scared to be hurt, you will never get to live your life fully.

Yes, losing someone you love or a fantastic job might depress you thoroughly, but it also means that you had the extreme happiness of having had those. People who never try, don’t miss anything but they don’t gain anything either. They don’t get to feel the surreal happiness that comes from being loved. Or the fulfillment of a perfect job. It’s like a delicious fruit you refuse to taste just because you might not get to taste it again tomorrow.

If you never plan anything, you never get the satisfaction of having achieved it either. I guess, to me, the pursuit is just as much, if not more, fun. I like to plan. I know that I can, or even will, change my mind down the road and factor that into my plan, but I also like to have a goal. A destination. A reason for walking down the path I chose. I like the idea of committing to a path. Being madly passionate about something. Even if it crumbles to pieces, you have had an interesting, life-changing experience. Not to mention the lessons.

If you’ve never had it, it’s true that you will never lose it, but you will also never know what you missed. Sometimes a single moment is enough to fill a lifetime of memories. Memories that help you endure hard times. Memories that make you smile even after the details have blurred. Memories that you hold on to like rare treasures.

To me, it’s always better to have had. It’s always better to try to have.

Previously? Idea vs. Reality.

Idea vs. Reality

I firmly believe that many of my not-so-close friends like the ‘idea of me’ as opposed to the ‘reality of me’.

We all have a side that we show to the outside world. An amalgamation of our resume and the properness of being in the company of others. It’s how we act in an interview. When we meet a significant other’s parents. When we make a new friend. It’s the information our parents tell others when they want to brag. Putting on our perfect behavior.

I call that the ‘idea of me.’ To an outsider, I am an overachiever. I work at a top-notch investment bank, I volunteer six to eight hours a week, I take six classes, I have a Masters degree, I read voraciously, and I speak seven languages. To an outsider, I am intelligent, caring and inspirational. I am good at heart. A loving person. I am a collection of positive traits. To an outsider.

And then we have the side that only the really intimate see. The one that awakes with a hangover. The one who’s too lazy to replace the toilet paper roll. The one who’s clipping his toenails. The one who picks her nose in private, or when she thinks no one else is around. The one who reads an embarrassing book or is hooked on a TV program he’d never admit to in public. Those really not-so-pretty and human sides of us.

That’s what I mean when I say, the ‘reality of me.’ What the insider gets to see is that I worry too much. Sometimes the smallest decisions are the hardest to make and I need reassurance about the stupidest things. I still freak out before every exam. I am never satisfied with my results. Every achievement is replaced quickly by another goal, a harder, more complicated one. I am perfectly capable of being petty, holding a grudge, and being selfish. I don’t take care of my skin. I steal the covers. I have been known to talk and even walk in my sleep. I grind my teeth like mad. I am far from perfect. Behind the scenes.

The idea of me is wonderful. The reality, not so much so.

When I meet someone who tells me how great I am and how they like this and that about me, I automatically think that all they have is the idea of me. The surface. It’s easy to polish a wooden table so you can see your reflection on it, but it’s hard to get rid of the rotten wood inside the legs. Which is why I don’t often pay heed to compliments from people who don’t know me that well. Even my friends, not really really close friends but the acquaintance ones maybe, at times, never move past the idea of me.

The real reward comes when someone takes the time to see the reality of me. The rotten wood and all, and still chooses to have me in her or his life. I don’t have many of those in my life, but the few that I do have, I hold very dear to my heart.

The idea of me puts me on a pedestal, one I am bound to fall from. The reality of me makes it okay for me to screw up. It lets me know that I don’t have to worry about my mask falling off when I am with this person.

Because I don’t have to wear one.

Previously? Agenda.


Today was another Monday, and such, another happiness day.

I’m still struggling with this class. I must say that I don’t like the lack of tangible reality in philosophy. But I do enjoy the mental tug-of-war. Here’s an interesting issue that came up in today’s class.

The passage below outlines a problem Professor Robert Nozick presented.

Nozick is concerned that if we accept hedonism, we will loose sight of those aspects of life which are most important to us; namely, what kind of person we want to be and what kind of life we want to live. In order to illustrate this problem, Nozick imagines a science-fiction type story in which it is possible to plug our brains into machines which would provide us with any kind of experiences we could possibly desire. It is very important to note, here, that Nozick’s experience machine produces experiences of such perfect clarity that we cannot tell the difference between these experiences and reality. Therefore, says Nozick, there is no reason why we would not “plug in” to an experience machine. [ source ]

The teacher gave us the above setting and asked us whether we’d choose to be plugged in to this machine or not.

No? Come on! Here’s a machine that will make you feel like you’re getting all that you desire, are you sure you don’t want to take it?

Well, Nozick claimed that people would not want to be hooked up to this machine. The above-linked article goes on to say “[ Nozick says that] we are concerned with more than just our experiences of pleasure or pain (or any other experiences, in fact); not only do we want to experience things, we want to do things and be a certain way. Nozick contends that we would not be happy if we were plugged in to an experience machine because we would know that we are not actually doing the things we experience.”

So, if I understand it correctly, he claims that having pleasure come to us without our doing anything isn’t what humans want. Does that mean that part of the pleasure is accomplishing something or achieving in the face of adversity? I can’t put words in Nocik’s mouth but I must agree that I wouldn’t want to be plugged in either.

As far as I am concerned, if I agree to be plugged into this machine, I am agreeing to give up who I am as I know it. I am choosing delusion over reality. Even the certainty of positive delusions doesn’t convince me to give up reality. Artificial is artificial no matter how pleasant. The idea of exchanging fake for real sounds creepy to me. How could I consciously choose to stop being me?

After the class agreed that most of us wouldn’t hook up to this pleasure machine, the teacher put a twist on the scenario. Imagine, he said, you’re an Ethiopian suffering from starvation and disease, would you now agree to be hooked up? Some people nodded. It seems there is a limit to human suffering where delusion becomes way more desirable than reality. I assume it’s correlated to the amount of lost hope. Maybe even the helplessness that usually leads to extreme measures such as suicide.

Long after the class is over, I’m still thinking about the question. Still trying to properly pinpoint the reasons behind my extremely strong instinct not to agree to be hooked up. Which, once again, proves to me that this is indeed an interesting class. Even if it’s thoroughly frustrating.

What’s your answer? Would you choose the pleasure machine?

Previously? TV.

Pursuit of Happiness

Mondays at 3:45 I was supposed to take a class in Introduction to Theories of Learning. I thought the psychology class would give me a little insight into education theories, but obviously others didn’t. I got a call on Thursday to inform me that the class was cancelled.

Since I cannot not take a class, I went through the catalogue and picked the only other class offered at the same time. Another psychology course: Pursuing Happiness. Actually it’s a mixture of psychology and philosophy. As part of the teacher’s survey of the students, he asked us to write our theory of happiness on the back of an index card.

He said that, in his opinion, everyone has a theory on happiness, on what makes someone happy, what we need to do to be happy. He claimed that people develop this very early on and internalize it. So I thought about mine.

I’ll tell you what I wrote on the index card. My theory of happiness is that for a person to be happy, first the ‘big’ things have to be in place. The big things are: health, financial security, physical safety, etc. You might have other big things or consider some of the ones I mention as not important, but this is my list, so I’m talking about mine.

I think that if you’re not healthy, it becomes very difficult to appreciate other aspects of life. Yesterday, I threw out my back and have been in acute pain since, and it has overshadowed all other good things in my life.

Assuming the big things are in place, happiness is celebrating the little things. Most major accomplishments take time, so it’s crucial to notice and celebrate minor accomplishments. Happiness is noticing details and appreciating life’s little delights. Happiness is accepting others as they are. And accepting yourself as you are while trying to better yourself according to your own standards. It’s minimizing the stumbling blocks while maximizing the celebrations of good events. Knowing that life is not a means to an end, but a journey.

That’s what I wrote, give or take a few words.

I’ve been thinking about it since the class. What makes people happy? There are fatalistic theories of life is life and we let it work without struggling too much. Then there are others who believe that life is what you make it and you create your own happiness or lack thereof.

Some people say money makes them happy, but often, those people spend their whole life making the money and no time enjoying it. Do they just like to say they have it or are they doing it as a means to an end? The problem with having big goals (like being rich) is that they are often not well defined (how much money exactly) and they take too long to achieve. What makes me happy often is having a sense of self-accomplishment and self-growth, being loved, loving, and being hugged.

I don’t exactly know what my theory of happiness is, I’m still working on developing it. Maybe this class isn’t going to be so useless after all.

What’s your theory of happiness?

Previously? Thirteen.

Good vs. Evil

Well, today’s psychology issue is deeper than usual.

As we started studying humanists, our teacher raised the issue of evil versus good. Freud believed that humans, in their core, were evil beings and that they needed to repress their inclinations to live in society. And then came along the behaviorists who thought that humans were neutral and how they turn out is an outcome of their conditioning. Finally we have the humanists who believe that people are good at core.

Humanists say that we are all born with the tendency to grow to actualize our own potential. The teacher made an analogy to a flower seed. Assuming it gets the right light, care and soil, a seed will actualize its inherent potential by becoming a flower. I immediately thought of Fred which proves the humanists must have had some correct ideas.

The question of whether humans are born evil or good is extremely well discussed, controversial, and most likely to stay unproven.

Some very famous people resisted the notion of inherently evil humans even though they had huge hardships.

Most people who believe that humans are good in the core, tend to “blame” parents or upbringing for the seeding of evil. The humanist Carl Rogers said that we establish conditions of worth, which are ways in which we need to act so that our parents will keep loving us.

For example if my mom made me feel like she didn’t like me each time I threw a tamper tantrum, I might take than in as “for my mom to love me, I need to not show my anger.’ And then I grow up never showing my anger, even when I should. So now I’m living with what I think my mother wants me to be. I’m not sure if I made it unclear, but to me it makes perfect sense why this totally screws up a human being.

The more psychology I study, the more scared I get of being a parent. So many possibilities of failure. Of ruining another human’s life.

As I sat in class today, I tried to think about my beliefs. Do I believe in the evil-born human? I’m not sure. My tendency is to go with the humanists and say that I believe all babies are good at heart. Which, then, puts incredible amount of pressure and responsibility on the parents.

Do you think humans are born good or evil?

Previously? Lacking Questions.


Tuesday is psychology day here at karenika. Since I have a Theories of Personality class on Tuesday mornings and spend most of the rest of my day pondering about my class, I inevitably write something to do with the class topic.

Today’s class was all about conditioning, so here’s a bit of what I learned (or what I think I learned):

A Russian physiologist named Pavlov did many experiments with his dog. He discovered classical conditioning while studying the digestive system of dogs. He would feed his dog and study how the dog digested the food. One day he walked into the dog’s room, without meat, and saw that his dog was salivating, which is the dog’s reflexive response to seeing meat. He couldn’t understand why the dog would salivate without the presence of meat and decided to do some tests. He showed the dog the image of a circle, which of course didn’t make the dog salivate. He then started to show the dog the image and then gave him meat immediately afterwards. After doing this several times, the dog started salivating to the image of the circle without even getting the meat. This is called classical conditioning and it’s only used for reflexive behavior, such as salivating.

One important thing to note is that if Pavlov kept showing the image without giving the meat, the dog would eventually stop salivating. Which is called extinction.

Now that you know all about conditioning, I want to talk about a study my teacher mentioned. One of B. F. Skinner’s students did an experiment with dogs. He took a room divided into two by a short fence. One side of the room’s floor was white and the other black. He let the dog in on the white side and wanted it to jump the fence, so a few seconds after the dog was let in, he electrocuted the white floor, which naturally made the dog jump to the black side. After a couple of times, the dog would automatically jump to the black side as soon as he was let in. This is called avoidance, as the dog is trying to avoid the electrocution.

The interesting thing about avoidance, however, is that it never extinguishes. So the dog will always want to jump away from the white floor even if it never has electricity ever again.

Here’s how you totally screw up the dog. If you then start electrocuting the black floor, the dog will come in on the white side, immediately jump to the black side, to avoid electrocution, and then jump back when he gets shocked on the black side and since he knows the white side to be bad, he will jump back to black and then jump back to white, so on and so forth. Even if you stop electrocuting both sides, the poor dog will now forever jump back and forth the two sides.

When you know its conditioning history, the dog’s actions make perfect sense. But imagine if you didn’t know it and walked into this room and saw the dog jumping back and forth. What would you think? That the dog is completely out of his mind, right? Well, that’s the point behaviorists try to make. Humans exhibiting neurotic behavior might really be doing it as an outcome of their earlier experiences with conditioning.

Another sad experiment also made me think. A bunch of students took some dogs and put them in a room where they had no escape and electrocuted them pretty badly. And then they took these dogs and put them in to the segmented room mentioned above. When the white floor started electrocuting them, they didn’t even attempt to jump. This phenomenon is called “learned helplessness.”

While I’m sure humans and their problems are not as simple as behaviorists wanted to make them, these studies made me rethink my life and some of my learned behavior. And why sometimes I can’t stop worrying even if I know I should. This is assuming, of course, that you believe there is no difference between humans and animals, which Skinner did.

No matter what your personal beliefs, conditioning has a lot to do with our daily life, with the jobs we choose (or don’t choose), the people we surround ourselves with, and many other life decisions. I spent most of today trying to figure out which one of my actions was related to what past conditioning.

Can you think of a few of yours?

Previously? Interdiciplinary.

Extrovert vs. Introvert

I hate the Meyers-Briggs test.

Each time I’ve tried to take it, and I’ve taken several versions, several times, the results came out completely differently. More importantly, my answers were continuously preceded with “it depends.” The questions have no solid context. When they ask you how you would act at a party, they don’t tell who’s throwing the party, how many people are at it, where it is, etc. My behavior often depends on my surroundings and my mood. I don’t think a test so vague such as this one can determine one’s personality well.

The result set often shows that I am perfectly aligned between extroverted and introverted. According to Carl Jung, every person has extroverted and introverted attitude types in them but they’re born with one more developed than the other. And they must learn to develop the other throughout their lives.

As a child, I was extremely introverted. Attached to my mother’s skirt, I used to cry almost non-stop. I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I wrote diaries daily and wouldn’t divulge personal information to anyone. Everyone marked me introverted, and that was that.

During high school, I must have opened up cause I had many parties and was often the center of attention. Most of my classmates knew me. The same phenomenon continued in college. Half the school knew me, and most people took me to be very extroverted.

I’ve often wondered about the dichotomy and assumed that somewhere between childhood and adulthood, I must have changed.

Well, as my teacher explained Jung’s theories, I realized I hadn’t changed after all. Most people associate introverted ness with shyness, so as I became less shy, I assumed I must have become extroverted. Jung, however, defines the two as such: an extrovert is someone who finds meaning in life outside of himself such as friends, etc. Outside things hold more meaning to an extrovert. Introverts, on the other hand, find meaning in internal and subjective phenomenon. They’re interested in what’s inside them. Jung also said that introverts have a harder time during the initial phases of their life and extroverts have more trouble later on.

Well, looking at it in that context, I am most definitely an introvert. A book and some hot chocolate will always be more appealing than a night in town. A chat with a single close friend is so much better than a party. I might not be shy but I still believe what’s inside is much more interesting.

I’m glad I finally cleared that up.

But I still hate the Meyers-Briggs.

Previously? Risks.