adesh saxena

Consultant ENT Surgeon, Indian Medical Association


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Be pauper by choice and not by circumstances. Acquire skills to become a king and than choose to live like pauper or the way you want.

I'm a freshman in high school. My guidance counselors and teachers basically say tell me if I don't go to college my life will be miserable. I want to live a simple life. I have figured it out. I know that may seem weird, but that is what I want. I want to live in a small apartment with not much in it and just enjoy the small things in life. Is college actually necessary to succeed at all in life?

This question is asked by a freshman to me, do you agree with the reply i am giving to him ?

  • May 30 2013: Hey Adesh,
    essentially, this is how I live, with my family. But, we would not be able to live this way, if we did not have the skills to do so. In order to maintain our lifestyle, our alternative energy source and our home, we are constantly searching for creative solutions that cost as little money as possible, because we can't afford to hire someone to do the work for us. That is where the skill comes in.
    We chose a 'simple' life, in the eyes of society - we live off the grid, close to nature, in a house that is just big enough for the 4 of us. Our idea of wealth is running water, our health, fresh air and a full refrigerator!

    No one can determine how you should live your life, but acquiring skill is essential to survival, no matter how you choose to live.
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      May 30 2013: Great Lizanne,

      Acquiring skills is essential to be happy also.

      If you are happy it does not matter how you live.

      Three cheers for your simple life.
      • May 30 2013: Adesh, in all honesty, it took us years of living in the 'material world' to get back to basics and truly appreciate what we have, and what we DON'T have, or rather, need.
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          May 30 2013: It is rightly said there is enough for everybody's need but not for the greed by Gandhi
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    Jun 1 2013: I think it takes a great amount of inner strength, compassion and intelligence to refuse having a "crown". Only really brave and independent people can control and overcome the lust for power and money we have been socialized to pursue and value. But we can change the way we see things. We can be taught to see people without their own home as "homeless", as somehow strange beings that have failed and that are stupid and crazy, or we can work on our perception to see things as they really are. In the case of the "homeless", what we have in reality is a person that is excluded from society because the latter is such that even with hard work you can't have a house of your own. Even when people want to work many times they can't find a job and thats not their fault. Also the "homeless" myth diverts our consciousness' from the fact that poverty is caused by the way society is organized and by the endless greed of some people. I don't think ambitious people are "strong" or that they deserve a better life than others. I think not caring for others and demanding more than you need, and by that causing suffering to others, is a weakness, a moral and a spiritual one at the least. Just because somebody has a diploma or has a business, or got elected, it doesn't mean that he/she is worth having a better life than others or is due to more respect. Many people don't study because they simply can't. And even when people are labeled "stupid" so that the true source of their failure can be disguised it doesn't mean that they don't deserve a good life. Aren't we supposed to leave nobody behind? So when others fail, we all have failed. Isn't it a failure to allow there to be alcohol when people get addicted to it and suffer? One is not better for having more money and the simple fact that one demands so much himself is certainly a weakness and a failure. This failure can be seen as a success, but culture sets, by default, the way we see things. Very few wan't to look further...
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      Jun 2 2013: the simple fact that one demands so much himself is certainly a weakness and a failure. This failure can be seen as a success, but culture sets, by default, the way we see things. Very few wan't to look further...

      I agree hoarding may be a sign of weakness
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        Jun 3 2013: I think so, because hoarding, when there is no scarcity, when one is not starving or predicting that one may starve or so, is caused by irrational fear and if one cannot defeat his own fear and impulses then one can not defeat himself, overcome himself - so we can say one is weak. Thats why altruism makes us strong, I believe, and thats because we can overcome our own selves and give to others even if we need, that is an unnatural action of strength and afirmation of our free will and benevolence. How can I explain it better... one who is able to forget his own interests and help others who are more in need is stronger and better, ethicaly at the least. That is why a fireman that risks his life to save somebodys else life is called a hero :)
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    May 30 2013: Hi Adesh.

    Living a simple life is not weird at all. I think it is actually admirable - and future-proof.

    But it's better to live life simply with a broadened mind than with a narrow one, in my opinion - so I agree with your reply to your freshman friend.

    In these changing times, it is best to future-proof one's education too. In other words, the skills to become a King today may not suffice to be a King tomorrow.
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      Jun 1 2013: Allan i mean..

      Let us be empowered before we choose to give up power.
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      May 30 2013: Nothing more to add. They are my role models. I admire them but I can never be like them.

      Do you think ZX Can any one aspire to be like them?
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      May 30 2013: La Mar , I agree with you when you say...

      I don't think pressuring young people to go to college is the answer and I waited until I was 21 to start college and felt better prepared and had more maturity than my friends that went right out of high school. Some of them dropped out because of the pressure to succeed and parent pressure but my only pressure to do well came from myself and I graduated with two degrees.

      Are people afraid of wasting time while waiting?
      • May 30 2013: Adesh, in answer to your question, "Are people afraid of wasting time while waiting?"
        Do you mean, wasting time while in college, waiting for their lives to begin?

        I never finished college, for two reasons:
        1. Nothing was expected of me. It was the most uninspiring, demotivating environment I had ever been in.
        2. When I began college, I didn't know if it was what I really wanted to do. After three years, and after changing my major three times, I still didn't know if it was really what I wanted to do. Here I am, in my late 30's, and I still don't know!

        Could it be, college demands making a decision young people aren't ready to commit to?
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          May 30 2013: In India when you are around 16 or 17 yrs old you are supposed to decide about your future education.
          At such a young age when teenagers are still finding their feet, they are asked to commit. In my understading less than 10% of teenagers can decide for sure, rest take the decisions arbitrarily. And this is not good.
      • May 30 2013: Adesh, I think it might be the same everywhere. Kids 'should' know by the end of high school, what they're going to be when they grow up. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket!
        Like you, LaMar, I attended college for the social aspect, as well as the skills I was hoping to build. Unfortunately, there was very little of either! Even though I attended many open days, I made the wrong choice.
        A tip may be, to talk to students in that school on any given day, and ask them truthfully what the pros and cons are.
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      May 30 2013: Hi LaMar, I totally agree with you about the value of college for older people. Teens get sick of education - I know I did. They want to get out of education and into life. If they have the opportunity to return to college when they are older and have a clear idea of what they want to do - they'll dedicated themselves to their studies, and probably be more successful in the long term.
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        May 31 2013: After going through your comments i feel entry to a College Education needs proper counselling and if it can be delayed a bit, to give time for maturity of thoughts
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    Jun 5 2013: How many of us want power and money and how many want to lead a simple life?
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    Jun 2 2013: Hoarding may the sign of weakness

    the simple fact that one demands so much himself is certainly a weakness and a failure. This failure can be seen as a success, but culture sets, by default, the way we see things. Very few wan't to look further...
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    May 31 2013: After going through your comments i feel entry to a College Education needs proper counselling and if it can be delayed a bit, to give time for maturity of thoughts
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    May 30 2013: well, it depends on the individual, some people might be happy this way, some might be happier being more ambitious. Personally I'm happy when I feel I'm growing, and if one is growing one will probably be acquiring a more comfortable material life as well as a richer inner life.

    This might make a great convo, adesh. It is hard for me to understand people who don't feel this need to grow, maybe people who don't feel thisneed can explain it. How can life not be boring if you are not growing?
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      Jun 1 2013: Greg You are right

      Non living do not grow.

      Need to grow is like need to breath.
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      Jun 1 2013: Generaly speaking - not being rich doesn't mean your have to live in misery. Not being a "social black hole" for opportunities and positions doesn't mean you can't denvelop yourself in many different ways and areas. Not being socialy recognized as succesful doesn't mean you can't be succesful and feel good with what you are, what you have done, and what you are doing. Taking on an ideia in Greg Dahlens comment - it is important to see what makes you happy. But i would say you need to see what happiness means to you and is it really hapiness or are you just trying to fit social stereotypes and meet others/societys insitutionalized expectations.
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    May 30 2013: Hi Adesh, Yes I like your answer. Living the simple life is actually living the richest life possible. Having the time to do what you choose is the power behind wealthy people the world over - it has little to do with money.
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      Jun 1 2013: Hi Heather, Simple and Truthful

      One is most happy when one is simple and truthful .
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    May 30 2013: ..
    You made a very good choice.
    It contains very small amount of invalid (harmful) happiness.

    Invalid happiness leads humankind to self-extinction.
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      Jun 7 2013: Hi W.ying
      can you explain invalid happiness
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        Jun 8 2013: .
        Very glad to.

        Let's define "valid happiness is the short-time feeling of things being a-step-better for keeping our DNA alive"
        and, the feeling is one of our instincts formed 10,000 years ago by our ancestors from their successful experiences for survival and saved in our DNA.

        Then, the happiness out of the validity scope of our instincts is the “invalid happiness”.

        We are unable to detect this invalid happiness intuitively
        because we have not bio-evolved to renew our instinct to detect it.

        This invalid happiness is harmful in most cases.
        Such as: eating junk food, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, wearing clothes not for protection, ... making too much money to cause greed, inequality, crimes, wars, “unsustainable” world etc.

        (from Be Happy Validly!)

        Few people think there is such an "invalid happiness",
        I hope you could show me what is wrong here.
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          Jun 9 2013: Happiness for the wrong reasons, is that what you mean?
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        Jun 9 2013: To Adesh Saxena (30 minutes ago).
        Our instincts and feelings do not detect the "wrong".
        We have to find it by reasoning, at least, at first time.

  • May 30 2013: Success is a subjective concept, the only person who can tell accurately if you succeeded in life is yourself, how close are you to live the life you want to live is the measure of your success, so any external opinion is probably wrong. Said that, the relevance of a college education depends on the kind of job you want to do and the way you want to do it, quality knowledge and skill acquisition are available in all sorts of ways, the academic method is not the only one, nor the most effective for everybody.

    I would rephrase you idea like this: If you ever be pauper, make it by choice not by circumstances. Acquire skills to become a king and then choose the life you want.
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      May 30 2013: Thanks George I have reframed the topic, Is it ok?

      How an external opinion could be wrong, rather it should always be welcome? Yes External pressure or force is absolutely wrong, don't you agree?

      • May 30 2013: Maybe "wrong" is not the word I should have used, since "inaccurate" was what I really meant. And yes I agree.
  • May 29 2013: "One should be pauper by choice and not by circumstances."

    I do not agree, particularly with the word "should." If you think that is best for you, you are entitled to that opinion. However, since you are still in high school, you should be aware that your values will be changing over the next few years.

    "Is college actually necessary to succeed at all in life?"

    That depends on what skills you want to acquire.
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      May 30 2013: Thanks Barry I have reframed the topic,
      Is it ok now?

      I agree when you should be aware that your values will be changing over the next few years.