The Master Manipulator

A college economics professor one time told me that people whose chosen career is higher education continue learning more and more about less and less until they know absolutely everything about absolutely nothing. I think he was making a joke, but since he’s an economist one can never be certain.

I see a parallel with aging family members; of all the things that have happened in our lives my grandparents tend to latch onto a few stories from the past and without fail every time we get together they bring up one in particular and try to get me to retell it.

Daniel Kahneman talks about the idea that there are two types of selfs: our experiencing selves and our remembering selves. He shows that the happiness we experience as we remember what we experiences is NOT directly proportional to the actual experience. There’s a lot more science to it, but you can read the book for the details. I’ll just share with you why it’s important: experiences appreciate with time whereas material goods depreciate. Thus one of the secrets to a happy life is to invest in experiences. And because your happiness is linearly related, you merely need to have a brief fun experience in order to reap the benefits of that joy for years down the road.

I already shared my Candy Man story, and maybe someday I’ll share the time my brother and I hid and laughed under the couch while my parents called 911 because they thought he and I had been kidnapped. But that’s for another time: this is all about the birth of a what my Grandma would term the “master manipulator”!

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Fiji: The Real Deal

Wednesday, October 16 2013, 7:17am (or with the IDT, Tuesday Morning)

It is Tuesday Morning….again. Yesterday was Tuesday as well, but that’s what happens when one is cruising over the 180th Meridian. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me talk about Monday afternoon which was two days ago…even though today is Tuesday 😉

I enjoyed the morning at the beach and did a bit of writing and reading. My flight was at 2:20, and they ask that you be there 90 minutes prior. I arrived about 2 hours before, simply because I didn’t have anything else keeping me at the hostel. Posted fare to the airport was $14 FJD. I tried negotiating to $10, but eventually acquiesced at $12.

My bags were too heavy due to the fact that I insisted on lugging my huge tripod around for some nice shots; my checked luggage was 22kg vs. 15 and my carry on was 12kg vs. 7. I ended up paying $38 FJD for the difference. I grabbed lunch which was chicken curry. It wasn’t the best, but then I’m not a big fan of spicy food AND it was airport food after all. I went through security and into the small, one flight-at-a-time gate. It makes sense because most people depart Nadi via small boats headed to nearby islands. My flight was full except for a few seats and was a small approx. 20 person unpressurized prop plane. The flight was beautiful if not loud, and offered panoramic aerial views of the largest Fijian island Viti Levo. After about an hour we took a stomach churning descent over the even more luscious island of Vanua Levu which is home to Savusavu known as the “hidden paradise of Fiji”. The “airport” here is just a tiny runway with a small gate. I met my driver Junior who told me that it would be about an hour and a half drive to my embarkation point (which was much longer than I was expecting)!

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