Another look at my Quora answers

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In addition to my book, website, and contributions to the Juventus SB Nation website, I’m also very active on the website Quora. In fact, it’s one of my favorite websites to visit given that I barely use Facebook and don’t have Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or any other stuff like that (LinkedIn is probably the only other website that I use as much as Quora).

I believe I started writing on Quora around October 2016 or so, and I’ve written 671 answers there since then.

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog post in which I shared a few of my Quora answers. I enjoyed doing that and since it’s been so long, I thought to myself “why not do it again?”

Without further ado, here are some more of my favorite/best/random Quora answers (lightly edited) that I’ve written over the years. Enjoy!

Q: Why do millennials not want kids?

Disclaimer: speaking for myself here as to why I don’t want any kids and not for every single 25yr old person in the world.

  • Money

Kids are expensive. Estimates from a few years ago put the figure of raising a child from 0 to 18 at about $245,340. Quarter of million dollars! And that’s without costs of post-secondary education.

  • The sacrifice

Look, I’m simply too selfish to have kids. The financial sacrifice I would have to make to have children is one thing— I would like to retire at a reasonable age and not have to work myself to death for my offspring. It pains me that my parents (who are in their mid-60s) have to work themselves to death to pay off their debts.

Then there’s the emotional sacrifice. Although the evidence of the effect of parenthood on personal happiness and marriage satisfaction is mixed, there does seem to be indications that parenthood puts a dramatic strain on the relationship between the parents. Parents have to suspend their emotional needs for the sake of their children (I completely respect that and think that’s 100% justified, obviously) and I’m just not willing to sacrifice so much of my emotional reservoir to (a few) other people (though ironically, my career is in the nonprofit sector). I absolutely do want a partner but I want to be able to dedicate 100% to her and our relationship.

Then the lifestyle sacrifice. Besides saying goodbye to good sleep for at least 8–9yrs of your life, I like being able to go to the gym whenever I want, travel whenever I want, dedicate as many resources that I want to my health/fitness, go out at night to see a friend without having to solve the Bermuda Triangle of logistics to get a babysitter, and just live life on my own terms. Again, I’m too selfish. I love the freedom that my lifestyle grants me.

  • Career goals/ambition

I’m an extremely ambitious guy and have very high goals and standards for myself. This means that I put a lot of energy into self-improvement and career development because I genuinely think I have more to offer the world than just offspring, and I believe that I can only do this without having kids (this obviously does not count for every person).

If I had kids I genuinely don’t think I would be able to give them the emotional energy and attention that they deserve due to my personal desire for career growth. I would have to choose between career and kids; choose career and I’m emotionally abusing and neglecting the kids, choose the kids and I will be forever haunted by the thought of what I could have been and Lord knows that would make me bitter and resentful as fuck. Furthermore, I think it is a cardinal sin to emotionally neglect children, so I can’t and will not subject them to that.

  • The feeling

I just don’t feel excited when I think about the concept of having children. I’ve done a few “thought experiments” on the topic of children. I thought to myself, “alright how would the thought of having kids make me feel?”

So I fantasized about what it would look like to have children and what my daily life might look like in this case (from when they’re toddlers till adulthood). I realized that, after multiple times of doing this, at best I thought “well yeah that would be kinda nice sometimes” when thinking about the good times, but never absolutely ecstatic or warm and fuzzy. In general, I felt indifferent to the idea. If the idea of having kids doesn’t excite me or make me feel, it’s probably a sign that it’s not for me.

  • Personality of your children

I think it was my sister (or maybe it was a different relative?) who once put it perfectly. Roughly paraphrasing here, but she said something along these lines:

I have to ask myself this: if my kids end up liking and being everything that I hate and stand against in the world and have a personality that is literally the polar opposite of everything I admire, will I still be able to love my children? And if my children absolutely hate my fucking guts as a parent, will I still be able to love them? Until I can confidently answer those questions with a ‘yes’ I’m not sure I’m ready to have children.

Unfortunately, I’m not a big enough man to be able to answer those questions with a “yes” either.

Written on 25 June 2018.

Q: Who is/was the most wasted footballing talent in modern football (soccer)?

In some odd, twisted way, I would say Ronaldinho.

Tim Vickery laments to no end what a terrible, terrible shame this case was. It was the most poignant example of what happens when a player stops caring about football. Vickery talks about how Ronaldinho’s teammates at Atletico Mineiro were once asked how good they thought the Brazilian could be and they said “Well it all depends on how much sleep he got last night. There are days when he probably only gets one hour of sleep.

It was, quite frankly, utterly depressing. To see a player that played with so much unrestricted, raw joy and, more importantly, brought so much joy to other people gradually decide that he simply didn’t care anymore breks my heart. Ronaldinho was a player with possibly the greatest amount of raw footballing talent of our generation. He was, quite simply, an extraordinaire. However, Vickery continues to talk about how cynical and awful his performances eventually became as he became more and more of a passenger in the games he played.

To call it a Greek or Shakespearean tragedy would be an understatement. As great the joy as he brought us when he was great is the sadness that he now brings us in his downfall.

A footballer is the privileged interpreter of the feelings and dreams of thousands of people
— Cesar Luis Menotti

Written on August 22, 2018.

Q: What are you low-key happy about?

Low-key? More like absolutely uncontrollably ecstatic about the following two things:

#1. That I completely missed out on the social media movement

Other than Quora (non-mainstream, not really social media), LinkedIn (for professional reasons), and very very lightly on Facebook, I have zero interest in social media. And boy am I happy I missed out on that obsession.

Rarely a day goes by in which I don’t hear about the terrible effects of social media on our mental health (especially for children, who I worry about very much).

But you know that person who has an uncontrollable compulsion to grab his/her phone and document everything (s)he’s doing on social media? Spends every waking moment on Instagram, even moments before going to bed? Scrolls through social media when going to the bathroom? Gets trapped in senseless, heated arguments on Facebook/Twitter?

I am so grateful that I’m not that person.

I really can’t put into words how happy I am that the social media obsession completely passed me by. I’m so happy that I don’t have an obsessive-compulsion to always grab my phone and document everything that I’m doing.

I am so happy to not be a slave to my phone.

#2. That I’m completely uninterested in the entertainment world (and all the gossip

Beyoncé did this, Kylie Jenner did that, Kim Kardashian doesn’t deserve this and that because Khloe should have done such and such, this actor deserves an Oscar and is the greatest of all time because x and y.

I couldn’t care less.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy music, movies, and other such entertainment, but I draw a very bold line between me enjoying artists’ work and being interested in the personal lives of these artists.

Quite simply, I just want to listen to or watch your stuff. I have zero interest in whatever dubious affairs you do in your personal life or whether you deserve an Oscar or Emmy or other award. I don’t care about award ceremonies either.

I’m amazed, however, at just how worked up people get about celebrities’ lives. I mean, wow, I’ve seen people get into really, really heated debates about Cardi B, Kylie Jenner, and whoever else. And I just think to myself “Wow, what a waste of energy.

I’m happy that I have no interest in these two things because they’re a waste of my mental energy. I prefer putting my mental energy towards improving myself, writing books, and creating ideas, rather than trivial affairs like social media or the minutia of celebrities’ lives.

Written on April 26, 2019.

Q: Why do nice guys get friend-zoned?

Given the context of the question, I think I fit the bill for “nice guy” quite well. Hence, I’ll answer this question from the perspective of why I always get/got friendzoned. The issue is better now, but I still “suffer” from this problem.

#1: I simply had zero backbone

This was really the main issue. I had no backbone to ask a girl out and/or be assertive enough to tell her that I wanted to be more than a friend.

I fully admit and accept my fault in that. There’s little else to say on the matter here, though there’s an important question to ask: why? Why did I have zero backbone? Basically, the answer is fear, but there’s more to this. Which leads me to…

#2: Standing out

Growing up, I was almost always the only black guy in every social situation I was in. I was obviously aware of that. Because of that, because I was so different, I felt like I always had to do more in order to be able to compete with other guys (for women).

From my experience growing up in almost a completely white society, women either were SUPER turned-on by black/ethnic guys (due to stereotypical fetishes) or completely uninterested because human beings tend to be uneasy and uncomfortable with the unknown.

Anyway, I had this nagging feeling of “because I’m so clearly different, I have higher odds of rejection.” As a result, there was the fear, the zero backbone, and the habitual defaulting to “lemme just not take a risk and instead be the nice guy.

#3 Signals

Sidenote before I continue: this is one of the dangerous side effects of the #metoo movement that I think people don’t talk about enough.

Look, the great majority of guys have no.fucking.idea how to read subtle body language cues and non-verbal communication. I mean, this stuff is not easy at all. CIA and FBI agents receive training on reading non-verbal communication because this stuff is far from simple.

Given the first two points, and since I’m risk-averse in general, the danger of misreading a woman’s signals and the potential consequences of that terrified me. Because of that, I took the safe option of being the nice guy, which meant that I got friendzoned and spent the rest of my life in eternal damnation.

(That last part was a joke.)

Again, given the #metoo movement now, the consequences of misreading a woman’s signals are catastrophic. One sexual harassment suit, regardless of whether you’re innocent or not, will mean the end of your career.

These are the main points, though I would say that #2 is an underrated point that people rarely think about. Your romantic life is very, very different if you’re the only black guy with only white people.

Written on April 2019.

Q: 16-year-old Greta Thunberg has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for starting a worldwide student campaign against climate change. What do you think about this?

Unpopular opinion incoming.

I have immense respect for Thunberg and she deserves much of the praise she has received.

However, my gripe is more with the nature of and praise for protests than anything personal with Thunberg. Let’s look at a movement like Occupy Wall Street (OWS) to clarify my point.

There was a big commotion about this protest and it was covered for weeks/months in the media. People were riled up and the entire Internet was ablaze with anger against the corporate world/Wall Street.

This was meant to be the moment when everything changed, when the people took back power from the corporations that were exploiting everyday people like you and me. This would be the time when the shocking levels of (income) inequality would be reversed. But what did it achieve?

Absolutely nothing.

In fact, inequality has only gotten worse.

Ever since OWS, I’ve become extremely cynical about modern-day protests. Everybody gets all excited and claims it will be a turning point in history, but it seems to me that most people use protests nowadays as a way to release pent-up anger/frustration at the system, rather than use it as a platform for real action and change.

The Guardian wrote a great piece about “the path from protest to power” just after the Women’s March and put my concern in far more eloquent and succinct words:

The number one challenge standing in the way of an effective protest in America today is the inability of our social movements to actually govern.

Think about it: we’ve been screaming about climate change for over a decade. Maybe not through organized protests like these, but countless number of documentaries (note: I actually think these are more useful than protests these days), speeches, and reports have been made about the topic. And yet still the planet is looking in dire shape. Will these protests lead to, for example, the election of politicians who base their platforms on climate change action?

“The only way to attain sovereignty – the supreme authority over the functioning of our government – is to use social protest to win elections or win wars”

I’m not saying protests are bad — we all have a right to peaceful protests — I’m just saying that I’m not sure I see the sense in nominating someone for a Nobel Peace Prize for this when we haven’t even seen if it will result in any tangible action. In fact, this sends the message that talk is more important than action, which deeply worries me.

Lord knows that most of the people participating in these protests will go home and continue to consume beef (terrible for the environment), use plastic, take excessively long showers, buy new clothes, and generally continue with habits that harm the planet.

The thing about climate change is that, sure, the government needs to do something about it, but a lot of change can be achieved through individual habit change (like changing your utility company). Maybe protesting about not using plastic, not eating beef/pork, and getting stores to ban plastic bags would be more effective?

So while we march and protest to crucify the government for not doing anything about climate change… what are we doing about it in our daily lives?

“Today’s social activists have succumbed to one of the most enduring myths of contemporary American protest: the comforting belief that if you can get enough people into the streets from diverse demographics, largely unified behind a clear message, then our representatives will be forced to heed the crowd’s wishes.”

Written on March 24, 2019.

Q: Why don’t guys approach women they’re interested in anymore? Is it our (girls’) fault?

I think a lot of men have given up in the sense that they have “opted out” of society. They’ve withdrawn into their homes and worlds of videogames (calm down guys, I’m also a gamer) and feel intimidated by the looming task of actually approaching women.

I honestly think much of it has to do with the fact that more and more women are becoming more successful career-wise (which is obviously a great thing, both socially and economically). More women are more successful than ever before in history so guys have to step it up more than ever before to impress (although there are still a lot of social barriers to break; case in point, sexual harassment cases).

It’s more likely to meet a woman who is more accomplished and further in her career than you are, which is an intimidating prospect for men.

Men were always used to being on top (no not like that!) and now they have to do more to prove themselves in the eyes of women. To put it in a sport’s analogy, if you’re the Kobe Bryant of your team, you’re top dog and you don’t have to do too much to prove yourself other than just doing your thing. If your team now suddenly buys Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, Dwayne Wade, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan…. Damn, now you have to go above and beyond to prove yourself because the bar has been placed extraordinarily much higher now.

I recommend watching the Ted Talks by Philip Zimbardo and Joe Ehrmann on the matter. Very thought-provoking stuff.

Written on July 25, 2017.


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See you, Space Cowboy.