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A Collection of Thoughts

Updated: Apr 5

On mainstream media & clickbait

The mainstream media is under such assault by up-and-coming forms of media that it has their financial models deteriorating and as their journalistic standards take a hit, as they are losing their fact checkers and their time to be more careful with their stories – They concentrate more on exaggerating the extremes to attract more attention which is also called click-baiting. The technological pressure that is being put on the mainstream media is driving extreme political views as a means of gathering the attention of a shrinking market. I think this new concept of “social media” media is quite detrimental to us as a society.

As an example we have observed during the 44-day war, a bunch of Russian and European-based media outlets were trying to create controversy in their headlines to make sure that there is a debate going on in the comment feeds – commonly known as engagement. Which was an ultimate utilization of the opportunity that has presented itself due to the immense hyperactivity of the two nations on various platforms across the web.

I stopped watching the news years ago and I don’t even own a device that transmits regular TV channels to my Screen at home. The only thing I own is an Apple TV which I use to watch Netflix or NBA TV. I sometimes find myself browsing through feeds of news headlines on social media and that’s pretty much it. What I value more is analytics of the news. I use every chance I get when I stumble upon an article or blog post that focuses on events that have an economic, environmental, or geo-political impact on Azerbaijan or on a global scale of things.  This approach keeps me resilient and well-informed about the greater picture, rather than being attached to micro events that happen daily.

The average person opens up Instagram/Facebook 150 (or an average of roughly 55 minutes per app) times a day. How healthy is that? Or in what way does it affect us? Companies are paying and putting fortunes into understanding why we do what we do and how we do it. Our behavior is being studied constantly. So if you are picking up the phone first thing in the morning it won't lead you anywhere good, mentally. You may wonder why is that a problem. I will try to explain using two sources I stumbled upon recently. To better understand how we can simply function better. The best way to do that is to study our mind & body. Thanks to a few publications that I have gone through neuroscience became one of the areas I occasionally like to focus my reading on. 

We’ve all experienced that magical feeling of being hit with a "brainwave". That moment of newfound clarity, a shift in perspective, or a novel idea. And typically, it seems to appear out of nowhere. In between sips of coffee, while out for a walk, or simply during a shower. While brainwaves can be a figure of speech to describe our thoughts, scientists and clinicians can use literal brainwaves, measured on the head, to help understand the functioning of the human brain. As it turns out, the key to having more of these ‘aha’ moments lies in understanding the science behind brainwaves. Neuroscientists have been studying brainwaves – the popular name for the field of electroencephalography – for nearly a century. We need to understand that there are 5 primary brainwave states.

Gamma brainwaves – are the fastest measurable EEG brainwaves and have been equated to ‘heightened perception’, or a ‘peak mental state’ when there is simultaneous processing of information from different parts of the brain. Gamma brainwaves have been observed to be much stronger and more regularly observed in very long-term meditators including Buddhist Monks. Associated state: Heightened perception, learning, and problem-solving tasks

Beta Brainwaves – are easiest to detect when we’re busy thinking actively. State: Alert, normal alert consciousness, active thinking

Alpha brainwaves – are some of the most easily observed and were the first to be discovered. They become detectable when the eyes are closed and the mind is relaxed.  

They can also often be found during activities such as Yoga, just before falling asleep, being creative and artistic. State: Physically and mentally relaxed

Theta Brainwaves – According to Professor Jim Lagopoulos of Sydney University, “previous studies have shown that theta waves indicate deep relaxation and occur more frequently in highly experienced meditation practitioners.  The source is probably frontal parts of the brain, which are associated with monitoring of other mental processes.” Most frequently, theta brainwaves are strongly detectable when we’re dreaming in our sleep (think, the movie Inception), but they can also be seen during daydreaming or deep meditation. State: Creativity, insight, dreams, reduced consciousness

Delta Brainwaves – These are the slowest of all brainwaves and are strongest when we are enjoying restorative sleep in a dreamless state. This is also the state where healing and rejuvenation are stimulated, which is why it’s so crucial to get enough sleep each night. State: Sleep, dreaming

Now that we have covered the brainwaves & their definitions (Yes I found out about them a week ago), let's go further. 

Alpha is a state of learning, accelerated learning with relaxed awareness. Have you ever noticed that if somebody’s watching TV or their phone and you are trying to have a conversation with them? They are entranced. They don’t usually hear or listen because what they are seeing on screen is putting them into a state of trance. But that's the Alpha state, that is where information is – just going inside your mind. We train people how to learn languages faster and learn facts better by putting them into an alpha state. 

I think the understanding of brainwaves should be acknowledged by education systems. School is a great place to learn & precisely “what to learn”. But how many classes were there on “how to learn” or how to think critically, how to solve problems, how to focus, concentrate & make decisions. So if we go back to getting up in the morning & grabbing our phone is the first thing we do. We train our brains for distraction. We can't focus enough on things that matter during the day and so forth. I am not even going to talk about (pre-sleep phone scrolling) screen’s blue ray emission, melatonin production & insomnia. Go do your research :)

So next time you wake up before reaching out to your phone, do some stretching, plan your day, set some goals, do yoga, or whatever. More & more I hear comments like “I am doing social media cleansing” “I am deleting all my apps” and “social media detox”. This is all the result of our inability to wire our brains towards mindfulness. Even me – finding interest in this topic is a necessity, the reason it triggered my curiosity is not because I wanted to seem smarter, no! The reason neuroscience is interesting to me is because I want to solve a lot of my shit :) 

The painful conclusion is that there is a whole generation who is growing up with so much tech & information around. However, a lot of people that I know came to certain “ahaaa” moments in life after a certain age, not because of their surroundings & what they are being taught. But because of what they lack in life and out of necessity like me. 

**PS This ain’t an article, blog post, or scientific research – my knowledge on this topic is still evolving & I wish to learn more. Thinking out loud & sharing with you. Stay safe!

On Terrorism

Despite the widespread public misconception, terrorism has no universal meaning. It’s an entirely subjective label applied in a political context. The US federal government can’t even agree on the definition of terrorism given the US Congress, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and FBI each operate under the guise of competing and contradictory definitions.

 Thus terrorism is defined by policy makers, and not the criminal justice system. In other words, politicians, not judges and courts, determine who is a terrorist, and what is terrorism, and policymakers get their cues and cover from how terrorism is portrayed in public discourse (media).

So, when a white perpetrator carries out an act of terrorism, public discourse is confined to “thoughts and prayers,” while demands for policy proposals follow in the wake of an attack carried out by a Muslim.

 This distinction has resulted in counterterrorism policies that include invading and occupying Muslim countries, torturing Muslim suspects, Muslim travel bans, profiling and surveilling Muslim communities, and counter-violent-extremism programs that not so subtly depict Islam as a gateway to terrorism.

 On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to think of a single piece of legislation or policy that has come into being in response to a white-perpetrated terrorist attack, which says something given attacks by white supremacists/nationalists outnumber attacks by Muslims on a scale of 3 to 1 and given 63% of all mass shootings are carried out by whites.

 The evidence is clear: when whites carry out acts of terror, we seek to distance ourselves or excuse the attacker, but when a Muslim is the perpetrator, we seek vengeance.

*Note 1 –  I have to mention that the trigger of this post IS NOT what happened in Vienna recently. I feel saddened every time I see people losing their lives & lives of dear ones due to terroristic attacks. My heart aches every time I find out that innocent people die. My country has been at war with a Terrorist regime since September 27th. Dozens of Azerbaijani civilians were killed by bombings of civilian settlements in numerous Azerbaijani cities. 

May they all rest in peace! 

*Note 2 – The triggers of my sharing my point of view originated from – Emmanuel Macron’s recent #islamaphobic statements, Angela Merkel’s statements & Nikol Pashinyan’s continuous attempts to tie the ongoing war to religion & Islam. Moreover, for years Media has been portraying Islam as a religion of terror & violence, however, Islam is a religion of PEACE. I have the utmost respect for those who do not practice religion and for those who have faith, regardless of the direction. Freedom to practice one’s religion doesn't mean belittling other religions.

We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Hoping for glimpses of light in the times of darkness.

On education & remote work

The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. Learning and development can be a powerful way to engage your workforce during the COVID-19 crisis. It signals to your people that you are investing in them and supporting them during this challenging period, while at the same time moving your business forward through development. 

 When moving to a virtual environment, it is vital that you work by design rather than by default and that you focus on building accountability among learners. This will enable you to create learning experiences virtually that are more engaging and more effective than ever. Working from home has taught a lot of us many significant things & made us appreciate certain things in life more than ever before.

Each of us has a different outtake on self-isolation & remote work. Mine is – it has taught me when, how, and where I work/be productive best. There is time for family, communication, meetings, follow-ups, analytics & exercise – all I have to do is to be super-organized.

On Nikola Tesla & frequencies

They say mathematics was not invented it was discovered…

Throughout his career, Nikola Tesla has performed a lot of controversial and mysterious experiments. Nikola Tesla was a very strange and mysterious personality. He did many things that the world did not understand. One of the weird details about Nikola Tesla is the fact that he was walking around a building 3 times before actually entering it. He was living in a hotel and his room number was 3 or any other number divisible by 3. The great scholar was obsessed with the number 3. However, it seems that Nikola Tesla had an obsession with the combination of numbers 3-6-9. “The key to unraveling the secrets of the universe lies in the study of the numbers 3, 6, and 9. They are extremely important, they contain the true splendor of the world! “- claimed Nikola.

The inventor understood that not a single scientist invented anything, he only discovered what was created by higher forces. Not people came up with mathematics, the rule of the golden ratio, or geometric formulas, they only described the universal laws of nature. The Universe speaks to us in the language of numbers. At any point 2 + 1 = 3, and 2 + 2 = 4. All patterns apply to any point in our galaxy and millions of others. Surprisingly, all life on earth obeys mathematical laws. Life originates in a cell that divides into 2, those into 4, then goes 8, 16, 32, and beyond. It is nothing but a binary system of calculus or God’s plan, as the enlightened ones call it.

Vortex mathematics (the law of knowledge and thinking) deduces the pattern 1, 2, 4, 8, 7, 5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 7, 5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 7, 5, 1, 2, 4 … Have you noticed that there are no 3, 6, 9? Modern scientists suggest that these are vectors of the fourth dimension, the existence of which Tesla tried to prove all his life (the theory of the ether, studying the motion of electromagnetic pulses in an invisible field). Here lies the key to the secret energy of high dimension, the access to which the scientist found. Tesla said then that the numbers 3-6-9 are very important and that on our planet there are some energy points related to these numbers.

Beyond the Patterns – Lets take an example: 1 × 2 = 2; 2 × 2 = 4; 4 × 2 = 8; 8 × 2 = 16, which means 1 + 7 = 8; 8 × 2 = 16; 16 × 2 = 32. It turns out that 3 + 2 = 5. The model 1, 2, 4, 8, 7, 5, 1, 2 looms … Here again, there is no mention of 3, 6 and 9. They go beyond simple templates!

Even the ancient Egyptians knew that 9 was a symbol of enlightenment. Going to the pyramid complex in Giza, we find that there are exactly 3 large structures, they display the position of the stars in the Orion belt, and then we see 3 small pyramids.

“And to be able to find out the secrets of the universe, you should think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration”

On becoming a better version of yourself

Ask yourself if 3 years from now if they were going to do a study on me and come back with a report on the kind of person I was, the way I treated other people, how people talked about me and my reputation and my position in the hearts and minds of others, what words would I want them to use, of all the words they could use what would be the one word that would help you more than anything else in your field? It's a work of brilliance to pick a word that would be your leading attribute, what word should people use to describe your brand, the next step is asking yourself what could I be doing from now on so that people think of me like this all the time. Remember brand is a promise you make – is saying that if you interact with me, get involved with me and so on this is the kind of person that you will get and experience. Says Brian Tracy. 

 A personal brand or a reputation is built for so many years and consistency is the key part of it. Otherwise positive reputation can be fatally damaged in a matter of seconds. However in my experience on many occasions, I have observed that the person who is trying to recreate a perception or an expectation of a promise(brand) does not cast a genuine reflection of one's self. What I mean by that, in fact, it lacks authenticity.

 Cynthia Thompson the author of a book I've recently read and would not rate it that high, to be honest, surprisingly blew my mind with a simple sentence. “Listen to your instincts and desires. Don’t adapt or mold yourself to be the “next” anyone. Unlike brands that are desperately trying to become more like people and copying trends to do so, you are already a person; your brand should focus on being authentic instead of a manufactured version of what you think everyone else wants you to be”. Consequently without trying to discredit the statements above I would like to lead you on to the following principles.

 Your habits, daily routines, self-development, and actions all have to be aligned with your identity and your goals. Although the perception of you out in the public matters and adds value, it is not the core issue.

 Imagine two circles, (taken from the 7 Habits Book)

 The circle of concern and inside of the first circle is the circle of control.

 The circle of concern (the outer circle) includes; the weather, the economy, the news, what other people think of you, political views of others. 

 The circle of control (the inner circle) includes; your habits, skills, education, daily routine, businesses you start, etc

 Reactive people focus on a circle of concern, a lot of energy is wasted reacting to issues that they can't control.

 Proactive people invest their time, focus, and energy on issues that are within their control. Which enlarges the inner circle leaving the outer one minimized.

Media crisis & clickbaiting trap

 You should move along your professional and personal life path with integrity and authenticity. If you think & act proactively it will eventually bring out the appealing authentic identity of yours and if that persona’s actions are aligned with his goals, then you will eventually end up on the right track.

On New Year's resolutions

Before you get all onto the new year-new me bandwagon express “choo-choo”, I have decided to make the new-me approach public. Because it will directly impact my purpose of reaching my objective. I used this Sunday evening to re-evaluate a few things and make a few changes. Usually, Sundays are the days when I usually make my best & worst decisions, so fingers crossed with this one.

So I took a glass of water, put Paco de Lucia playlist on the background, and put up a neat spreadsheet with the label “Rashad in 5 years”. Sadly I will not be sharing the content of the spreadsheet but I will further explain the importance of the approach.

So the bad news is? It is more likely that your New Year’s resolution might not pan out the way you planned. Because 60 percent of people abandon their resolutions within the first six months, however, 25% percent of people abandon them within a short 7 days.

And the good news? You can always resolve to improve yourself or go after an achievement no matter what time of the year it is.

If resolutions don’t work, and you want to take your to-do lists to the next level, get serious about goal-setting. Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews led a study on goal-setting with nearly 270 participants. The results? You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. So that's exactly what I did today, I would rather be in the 42 percentile TBH.

Writing your goals down not only forces you to get clear on what, exactly, it is that you want to accomplish but doing so plays a part in motivating you to complete the tasks necessary for your success. The process of putting your goals on paper or a spreadsheet will force you to strategize, ask questions about your current progress, and brainstorm your plan of attack. Plus you get to visualize the ecosystem/life you want to build around yourself. Furthermore making your goals or approach public imposes more commitment onto your goal coz of the potential “ictimai qinag” (judgment)

This practice of writing down goals is not unheard of in the business community. Some of the biggest entrepreneurial successes are very specific in the way in which they write their goals down. Grant Cardone has a special trick: he writes his goals down twice a day — once in the morning, and then once again at night. He explains,

“I want to wake up to it. I want to go to sleep to it and I want to dream with it…I want to write my goals down before I go to sleep at night because they are important to me, they are valuable to me and I get to wake up to them again tomorrow.” If, like Cardone, you want to start “stretching yourself beyond good and mediocre and average and the way everybody else thinks,” then project into your future. Just make sure you grab a pen first.

On short ones & quotes that I love

  • You are the average of the 5 people you hang out with

  • Dreams are just dreams without goals

  • Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next

  • A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one

  • We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Hoping for glimpses of light in the times of darkness

  • Change is the only constant

Pura Vida



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