How to survive in favorable situations

   Not only does one have to learn how to live in adverse environment. Sometimes it’s more important to be able to handle abnormally favorable situations such as an exciting personal triumph or simply a streak of lucky events. When subjected with a swarm of unexciting occurrence, one tends to be quite reasonable in gauging the difficulty levels of various ambitions, and behave in a modest fashion accordingly. The more negative feedback one recieves, the more restrained and conscientious one naturally becomes. While too much negativity might lead to psychological breakdown, there could well be a threshold below which one would regime-switch to a survival mode of living, which is perfectly natural from a Daoist perspective. Survival mode usually entails low profile cruising, coupled with realistic, practical thinking, that would ultimately bring one out of the deep water, much like the law of buoyancy as applied to some block of wood. Positive feedback, in the form of peer admiration or superior approval, can have an unpredictably morbid effect on someone who feasts upon such vanity. The most notorious situation, as applied personally, is when the psychological confidence booster generates a similar effect in the leap of faith towards some humongous achievement, often visualized through a ridiculous compression of the estimated amount of time it takes to accomplish. What’s disturbing is that even with conscious effort to suppress such "pride after-shock", the distortion in judgment and deviation from practical thinking has some fatalistic aspect, in the sense of a tragic fall of a Greek hero. The overdramatizing of developmental performance fluctuation is a leading inefficiency in academic productivity, speaking personally. To place oneself outside the honor roll, one has to reformulate the objective of spontaneous hard work in terms of altruistic service. In the case of mathematics, one could argue that the procuring of new results allow the introduction of new techniques to be used by fellow mathematicians, as opposed to the personal victory over others results. That’s in fact a distringuishing feature from the engineering side of the career spectrum. While engineers have to work against the clock, in a constant competitive mode, which is incorporated as part of their gross objective function, pure theorists can enjoy the freedom of relatively slow paced progress agenda. The room for relaxation is necessary for momentous power boost to the brain, to which most ingenuities are attributed. The ultimate zen of research mode, a state of livelihood comparable to Nirvanah, should not be equated with a lackadaisical attitude coupled with a hedonistic appetite. The mind should not be allowed to wander unchecked, but rather one should pay attention to the needs of the mind, much as a arbiter hears the cases from a plaintiff.

About aquazorcarson

math PhD at Stanford, studying probability
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