A closer look at my Quora answers
I do my best to vary the type of content I publish on this blog. Today is another one of those days where I give you a taste of the different type of writing I do besides everything here on Cowboy Funk.
Since I also write on Quora, I thought it would share some of my favorite answers that I've written in response to a variety of questions. Personally, I think that the stuff I write on Quora is not only very different from the content I write here, but also probably more personal (though in a different way). Hence, I thought sharing this would be perfect for the purpose of providing something fresh here on Cowboy Funk. These answers were copy-pasted word-for-word from my Quora account.
I'll start with my most popular Quora answer (in terms of upvotes and views). Enjoy!
Q: "Would you support your children no matter what career choice they make?"
Yes, but one condition only. Let’s say my daughter wants to be a comedian, fine, but then she has to do absolutely fucking everything she can to make it work.
I don’t want any of this “I’m really passionate about comedy” and then see you scrolling on Facebook for two hours per day. Passionate about comedy? Then read every fucking book there is about it, watch documentaries about how the Jerry Seinfelds or Dave Chappelle’s rose to the fame they are at today, follow blogs of the best comedians, reach out to comedians for advice, take online courses on improving your comedy-related skills, and so on.
I constantly hear teenagers throw around this term “passion” as if it’s a free lunch. It has become a criminally devalued term. Passionate about an unorthodox career choice? Well then you better work twice or three times as hard to make it work because these career paths are unorthodox precisely because they are much more difficult to pull off.
If I see my child do everything, and I mean everything, she possibly can to make her career choice happen, then hell yeah I’ll support her. But if I see this half-assed shit of paying lip service to this ‘passion’ but not put in the hard hours to acquire the skills needed for it and beyond, then absolutely not.
Q: "What are some things that make you sad?"
Note: This answer is based on a 6-minute segment from the episode of The Fizzle Show podcast. What to do When You Face Negativity — 5 Lessons Shared by Experienced Entrepreneurs (FS239) From minute 24:30 onwards till about minute 30:00.
A certain type of resentful negativity. Allow me to explain based on the link above.
The show host, Corbett, describes how one of his former colleagues (now-retired) had kept tabs on him throughout the years and sent him an email a few years after they worked together. Back then, Corbett worked in stereotypical corporate America but, after taking a sabbatical and choosing to do a massive career shift, he owns his own business with Team Fizzle. Anyway, as Corbett describes on the podcast, email #1 went something like this (shortened and slightly edited for purposes of brevity):
“Hi Corbett, it looks like you’ve been really successful with your internet company. I wish I had done what you have done when I was younger. I’ll be 65 in a year and a half and then maybe I’ll be able to pursue a more happy lifestyle.”
Seems real nice, right? Corbett also responded nicely and then, a few months later, he received email #2 again from his former colleague (let’s call him Frank):
“Hi Corbett, this blog post of yours on transparency confirms something I’ve thought all along. With regards to the previous company you started, I couldn’t believe someone would actually pay you for this service. Evidently, they didn’t. Somebody needs to apply a sanity test to these ideas. Do they really make sense? Would I pay you to teach me something that I could learn for free on dozens of sites and books? No. Probably self-publishing is your best bet. Write something about the lessons you learned in your years consulting; that has value. Good luck. Frank.”
What’s the moral of this story? There are people that come to the end of their (working) lives or careers and secretly hate themselves for living shitty, unfulfilling lives. These people then take it out on others through very passive-aggressive, patronizing, and negative jabs at others that have managed to live the fulfilling lives that they wished they had lived. I cannot express enough how seriously and profoundly this depresses me; both the negativity and the underlying self-hate/depression/regret.
Q: "As a Christian, have you ever actually read the entire Bible?"
Quite remarkably, yes I have. Remarkable because even though I do appreciate many of the teachings of my religion, I’m not a super-devout, intensely practicing Christian. That said, I do respect the religion and think that many of the Bible’s teachings have very valid points.
Anyway, I read the entire Bible from start to finish (chronological order). Here are my thoughts on it:
There really is a sharp difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The OT, broadly speaking, deals a lot with the strict laws of Christianity. You know, if you do X then you have to go to a priest, do such and such, sacrifice this and that, and spend #number of days away from other people and you’ll be alright. I honestly think that the people that hate/sharply criticize the religion probably do so because of the OT. It seems to me that this is the greatest source of debate for societal controversy (e.g. gay marriage, polyamory etc.)
On the other hand, the New Testament mostly deals with stories and parables (due to the Gospels, obviously) and leans more towards teachings about morality in your life. The NT is more like “do such and such to live a moral life; turn the other cheek; the Beatitudes; treat your neighbor as you would yourself” and so on.
The OT is extraordinarily graphic and violent. I mean, wow, a SHIT TON of killing happens there.
The NT is funner and easier to read. I particularly enjoyed the parables.
The Bible is a colossal piece of text. It took me about 12–15 months to read, reading on a daily basis/every other day. If you’re gonna read it, do yourself a favor and read it in one of the more modern translations instead of the really old-school English translations.
Q: "What is an example of a good thing you missed out on because you were too afraid?"
Dating (asking girls out) and romantic relationships.
Q: "What do you wish self-proclaimed "nice guys" would understand?"
Just because you’re “nice” doesn’t mean you deserve Jessica Alba, Natalie Portman, Emilia Clarke, and all the other most outrageously beautiful actresses in the world. Courting a girl requires a lot more than “being nice”; it requires a backbone, assertiveness, confidence, and sometimes blind luck.
So don’t go hating the world and society just because your “niceness” hasn’t directly led to romantic success. If it were that easy, every guy in the world would be nice.
Toughen up mate, the world isn’t as “nice” as you are.
Q: "How come men don’t approach me for dates at the grocery market?"
Because most men already get a goddamn heart-attack just thinking about asking a girl out to a date anywhere.
Throw in an environment where there’s a ludicrously high chance for rejection (c’mon, at a grocery store most people just wanna get shit done and get out of there) and the shame of having random people at the store see you get rejected, and I’m already getting a fucking hemorrhage just writing this answer.
TL;DR To answer your question, it’s fucking terrifying for men to do this, that’s why.
Q: "Why are some people always single?"
For those who are unwillingly single, it’s often bad luck. I personally believe that most of the first meetings with life partners is blind luck. I mean c’mon, it’s so often a case of happenstance running-into-someone — though I do recognize that you have to put in the hard work of increasing your social interactions and improving your social life by putting yourself out there. Also, I do admit that this opinion is based on anecdotal evidence from people in my social circle.
That said, everything that happens after the first meetings is not luck at all. That’s all based on how good of a person you are, how much you have your shit together, compatibility, maturity, personality, and on and on.
But none of that happens without the first meeting. And that, my friends, is most primarily down to blind luck.
(Also, living in a small city significantly diminishes your odds.)
Q: "Why are the majority of women uninterested in video games? what is different about women gamers and other women that makes them like video games?"
Well, you might be surprised to read the following:
The Pew Research Center today published more findings on Americans and gaming, this time delving into who plays video games and general attitudes about them. According to the survey, gaming is a pastime that crosses genders, with 50 percent of men and 48 percent of women saying they played video games on a console, PC, or handheld device. Despite this, men are much more likely to self-identify as "gamers" than their female counterparts, and both men and women generally assume that most video game players are men.
The key is that men are more likely to self-identify as gamers than women are due to social stigma. Also, the survey states that just about half the population of the US plays videogames. Look, technically the majority of women are still uninterested in gaming, but it’s a lot less pronounced than the question implies. (Link)
Q: "What's your personal favourite quote from "Rick and Morty"? What are the main characters and episodes if you know?"
By Rick in Season 3, Episode 2 (“Rickmancing the Stone”):
“C’mon Morty, no union based on running from your problems lasts more than 5 years, 7 years tops.”
Rick hits the nail on the head, as always. Damn eloquent as well.
Q: "What do you hate about people?"
This is actually both an answer to what type of people I hate and to what I hate about people, but this question was the only one of the two that I hadn’t answered yet.
The Dutch have a perfect word for this characteristic in people: “schijnheilig”. Unfortunately, English doesn’t have a word that quite captures the sentiment of this word (“hypocritical” is the closest, but I feel it’s not quite fitting for it) so I’ll have to explain.
“Schijn” means ‘to appear’ while “heilig” means “holy” and hence the term means ‘to appear holy’. Again, this is why I think ‘hypocritical’ doesn’t quite capture the essence of the term.
I hate — nay, detest with a passion — people that feign holiness. I find it the most repulsive trait a human being could ever have. Ironically, most people that are assholes are honest about the fact that they’re assholes and in some twisted way I actually like/appreciate that honesty. But people that constantly smile, champion how morally upright they are, preach about all the good they do (and human beings, in general, should do) are utterly repulsive to me.
Sidenote: for those of you that know the show, the character of Wendy Scott-Carr from Season 2 of The Good Wife is a nice example of a person like this.
It’s beyond me how some people lie so much to themselves to make themselves believe that there’s not an ounce of darkness within them.
“Remember that darkness lingers in every heart.” — Master Eraqus
Q: "How difficult is it to live a meaningful and happy life without a romantic partner?"
I think the more important question is how sustainable it is instead of how difficult it is.
In the short-term, it’s absolutely possible to live a meaningful and happy life without a romantic partner. Personally, I’ve been single since the beginning of the ages and, as a result, I’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time on personal development, introspection, reading, watching documentaries and thought-provoking shows, blogging, working (and building a good chunk of savings), and developing my career (in the nonprofit industry).
These things bring me a lot of meaning and happiness because I know these are fundamentally important things to do for my future. I get a lot of satisfaction and meaning from them and I also look forward to a really meaningful career working for a nonprofit in community development. Frankly, I look forward to doing many meaningful things in the world with the skills that I’ve been blessed with; be it through volunteering, writing, or working for a nonprofit.
The part where I question the sustainability of doing these activities without a romantic partner in the long-run (20–30–40 years) is when I continue to progress and achieve great things in these domains…
But I have nobody to share it with.
Or if it reaches the point where I achieve many great things over many years but the utility from these achievements begins to decline (diminishing marginal returns) so I start to question (or realize) whether there isn’t something missing in my heart and in my life. In other words, is it enough?
It’s perfectly possible to live a meaningful and happy life without a romantic partner but the only sticking point is whether you can do this in the long-run and be ok with not sharing your successes with a significant other.
Q: "Why are so many hot women single?"
What is this utopia you speak of? Hot girls being single?
The overwhelming majority of (attractive/hot) girls that I meet are already in relationships. It happens to me so frequently that, quite frankly, my default position is to simply assume that every girl I meet is already in a relationship. Not getting my hopes up has proven to be far more effective for my mental health.
Hot girls being single. Take me to this mythical land lol.
[Editor's note: This answer was clearly tongue-in-cheek. That's the nice thing about Quora: it's a nice release for some light-hearted banter.]
Q: "What is the gayest moment of your life?"
A bit of an unconventional one, but I’m probably the only male you’ll ever know that has read the book The Notebook but not seen the movie.
The book just happened to be lying around in my house so I was like, eh, might as well read it.
Quite a good book honestly, I enjoyed it. My favorite excerpt was the bit about the sanctity of silence and how the old appreciate and love silence but the young are always uncomfortable with it.
[Editor's note: I know, I know; the question might have been a little on the politically-incorrect side of things, but I hope my answer added some levity to it.]
That's all folks! Hope you enjoyed this one!
See you, Space Cowboy.