The zero sum game

Have you heard about a zero sum game?

A zerosum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s).

Many things in life are like a zero sum game and a lot of us spend all our time trying to be on the positive side of this scale. This is why we are always comparing ourselves to our neighbours and co-workers. We are more interested in being better off than others rather than being happy.

However, the focus of this blog is my own introspections on life (however delusional they maybe). So today I am going to write about the zero sum game of time. Time is thought to be a fourth dimensional variable which governs our lifespans, our activities and our thoughts. Time waits for no one and all of us have to make the best use of it. Indeed, this is what makes activity selection a zero sum game. The time you spend reading books or travelling around the world, is time you take away from your family or your friends (or from some place else). The time wasted on fighting and scheming against your colleagues is subtracted from the time you have to focus on your career. Hence, it is important to prioritise time and keep yourself focused on the things that matter the most. I highly recommend reading the 80/20 principle, how to master your life(blog post) and The 4-hour work week. All these resources provide valuable insights into gaining control of your life and time.

On a personal front, I am trying to organize my own time in a better manner. This includes keeping up with the new habits/activities I am planning to start such as blogging and reading. To make sure I achieve this, I am going to start following the tinyhabits principle. Namely, picking up these habits by starting with very easy tasks which I will have to perform daily after a certain trigger event occurs. For example, blog a post right after you have had dinner or read reply to all your emails the moment you switch on the computer in the morning. For a long time, I have tried (and failed) at maintaining my habits. Let’s see if tinyhabits succeeds where others have failed!

Reading list

  • Ivy League admissions are a sham: Confessions of a Harvard Gatekeeper: The reflections of a Harvard admissions officer and his views on the kinds of students who are admitted into the ivy leagues.  Having been a key part of the admissions process, the author tells you what it takes to get into the ivy leagues and why most of their students are from privileged backgrounds. Makes for an interesting read if you’re a student planning to apply to these universities or a parent dreaming about sending your children here.
  • Ex-NASA Engineer to Plant One Billion Trees a Year Using Drones: Finally, drones being used for the good of humanity! This is another one of those articles which makes you think, “Oh! Why did I not think of that before?”. There are so many ways technology can help improve our lives; and I mean really improve our lives not just pump up the AC. Let’s hope this guy carries out his initiative and manages to inspire many others in the process.
  • How video games taught me personal accountability: Another motivational post. I am sure you’re getting tired of seeing these in this section but persevere with me! As someone famously said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily”. So, stop sighing and click that link. Who knows this might just what you need to get that A in class or the employee of the month.

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