Why America is Still a Beacon of Optimism & Hope For The Rest of The World

November 14, 2012


Photo source


Update: Audio version of article read by the undisputed people’s champ!

Play
Subscribe: iTunes | RSS



For the first time since I’ve been in America, I put on coconut oil on my skin & hair, then took a shower.

And I want to tell that story & weave into why America is such a great country and provides hope for the rest of the world. And America will continue to be a first class leader for a very long time.

Before I start, a couple of admissions.

I’m not including myself as a world-changer or as the reason why America is great. America was always great and I’m just lucky enough to live here and get the benefits. I really have done minimal to nothing to change anything in this country. I do hope to make more of a contribution starting now.

Secondly, these ideas really aren’t mine. I’m not profound. This is a collaboration of other people’s genius insights that coalesced into my mind. I don’t recall where I’ve read these thoughts but the most obvious credits go to: Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, George Will & Malcolm Gladwell.

Coconut oil on skin & hair before showering:

I lived in India from ages 5 – 10. During that time, everyone put oil on their skin and hair before bathing. There were no products to buy. No big companies selling coconut scented lotions.

Everyone has their own coconut trees, cows, chickens, goats and we even had our own banana plants.

Ladies would put amazingly fragrant freshly-picked flowers from their yard in their hair and that was the way they smelled great for the day. No expensive perfumes.

We didn’t have deodorant back then, we were less industrialized. Things today are much more westernized but back in the late 80s and early 90s, we were still doing things the natural way.

I don’t remember what kind of oil we used but it was all natural. Probably coconut oil. And EVERYONE does this. Everyone.

When I came to America at 10yrs old, I stood out like a sore thumb. American kids are way different than Indian kids. Everyone here competed over Nike Jordan shoes, cool clothes, partying, smoking cigarettes, having cool cars and whatever else.

So just like any fob (fresh off the boat) immigrant, I spent many years quickly adapting to my new environment so that I would stop getting bullied. And it wasn’t just me, all immigrant kids got brutally hazed.

Since I was a tall kid, I didn’t get it nearly as bad as the shorter ones. But I still was picked on brutally from middle school, junior high and parts of high school.

I was leagues behind on figuring out how to be cool.

BTW, today I’m a mother fucking champion of cool, let’s not forget that : )

So I dropped all indian habits as fast as I could. One of them naturally was to stop oiling up before bathing.

Now that I’m 31.5 yrs old, today for the first time since coming to this country, I put coconut oil on my skin & hair and took a shower.

Wow, my hair is amazingly smooth right now and skin feels great.

I’ve been reading up on the infinite benefits of coconut oil to control my weight. Many of those books & blogs talk about how you can use coconut oil for everything.

You can eat it in a shake or bulletproof coffee. You can cook with it. You can put it on your skin & hair as natural lotion. It probably even makes your penis grow larger naturally, who knows! (Note to self: try that next)

So what’s the difference now?

Well, a lot of American body hacking pioneers are taking to the web & thru books explaining all the cool things they are discovering. And they are backing it up with hard evidence they’ve experienced or quoting studies.

That’s how I discovered that calories don’t matter, most carbs are bad, benefits of coconut oil, mct oil, fish oil, probiotics, etc. And I’m losing weight super easily & happiness has never been this consistently high before.

Everything I’m learning now is thanks to the body hacking pioneers like Tim Ferriss & Dave Asprey.

Now let me transition this story into why America is the greatest country of all time

Americans are optimistic. They are go getters. They are at the leading edge of technology, medicine, education, science, politics, business, charity, military, space exploration, music, movies, standup comedy, video games, helping the rest of the world, and whatever else category you want to find.

Americans are the undisputed defending repeat heavyweight champions of the world.

Sure, are there holes in the system, yes! Some other country might be beating us at math right now. So what?

We must remember & recognize that America is a large country.

We have the 3rd largest population in the world (314m), behind China (1.3b) & India (1.2b). [source]

After America, the next largest country by population is Indonesia, with a population of 237m. And do you see Indonesia dominating the world in any of the categories like America?

As a matter of fact, neither India nor China come even close to America’s greatness.

Pound for pound, Americans dominate the rest of the world. Americans win more gold medals & dominate the olympics while China tries so hard to win thru their communistic system. They forcefully remove kids from parents and send them to olympics camps and they still can’t beat USA.

In America, kids play sports because it’s their passion. Chinese kids don’t have that luxury.

And of course, India can barely win even 1 gold medal even though they have the 2nd largest pool of citizens to choose from.

We must recognize how amazing this feat is for Americans to pull off, decade after decade.

Again, I’m contributing zilch to the cause, just casually observing & reporting what I see here.

Americans have been mocked around the world for being the fattest & laziest.

This is not because we are lazy. We are the hardest workers in the world, pound for pound. We just had some ill-advised health policies in our search to cheaply feed our large country. So we took some drastic shortcuts which fed our citizens and most of the world.

But now we’re realizing our mistakes and there is a health revolution under way.

Like Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger repeatedly mention, it would be a big mistake to count Americans out.

The citizens here have one trait that cannot be replicated easily by other countries.

That is our unbridled sky high optimism.

Like Ricky Gervais says, American kids are brought up thinking they can grow up to be anybody, even the President of United States!

British kids are brought up thinking it will never happen to them.

Places like China, Russia and India can copy our economic strategies, wage war on the rest of the world thru currency manipulation, even stockpile nukes – but they can never copy American ambition & optimism.

That is bred thru generations of upbringing.

Why?

Well, the new world world (Americas) was discovered by brave adventurers who were trying to prove that the Earth isn’t flat.

They traveled vast distances on boats with no gps systems. There was no internet. Most of the world thought they would fall of the edge of the earth and never return.

That takes major balls.

Then, the first settlers on the new world were brave citizens of the old world. They were coming to a land that was mostly uncivilized. They had to build every single thing from scratch. That takes some courage & guts.

If you were a pessimist, you would never leave your town to go for hopes of greener pastures.

These new settlers braved harsh weather for generations and generations.

They even finally turned on their masters (Britain) and won their freedom against probably the best army in the world at that time. That is no small feat.

Then these guys set up their own government with the best rules ever in existence. They created a near ironclad constitution that is meant to survive 1000s of years of abuse. The founding fathers were true thuggs with immense foresight & brainpower.

Then the country grew. People from all over the world wanted to come to the new world.

Let’s think about that.

America has probably one of the best immigration systems in the world. They welcome the best from the rest of the world with open arms.

Are there some problems, sure, but what system is foolproof?

And the immigrants who do come here are the optimists from the rest of the world.

It takes huge balls to leave your home country/family/friends/jobs/education/familiarity and go to a new land with nothing but hopes of better lives.

This is the land of true opportunity. Seriously. If you want, you can work hard and own your own company or even become president of the country.

It won’t be easy. There is massive competition. But the opportunity is there. If you are in China or Russia or any other country right now, your chances of making to the top are slim to none.

Do we all realize that the world’s richest woman lives in the United States? Oprah fucking Winfrey. And that she’s a black woman with a poor upbringing? She didn’t have rich parents who left her a trust fund. She made her billions by just talking & sharing information with the world.

Optimists & daredevils from Mexico & Cuba risk their lives every single day to cross the border for better lives for their family.

These are the types of people who are go-getters. Fearless. Optimists. World changers.

And all of this optimism is rubbing off on me. I’m becoming a better person. Thanks to all the Americans who changed the world before me.

Even our elections are first class.

Do we all realize that we have the first black president ever? And he’s smart, well read & came up from a poor family. He isn’t a legacy president. He rose from nothing to the top position in the world.

I never thought that would happen. States are legalizing marijuana & gay marriage. Slavery is done.

Our elections are the best most civilized peaceful transfer of power in the world. Yes, it gets ugly and a lot of money is spent on negative ads.

The common thought today is that we spend too much money on the election cycle.

Something like maybe 1-2 billion dollars are spent on our presidential elections. And I believed this was too much as well and got riled up thinking about it. Conservative commentator George Will made an amazing analogy that completely changed my mind on that thought process.

He was a guest on Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s the Thing” podcast and said that in gross numbers, the money spent on elections seem like a big deal. But when compared to our GDP, it is ridiculously minuscule how much money we spend for a chance at the most powerful position in the world.

How amazing is that thought process? It puts everything into perspective.

And I knew this was genius because I’ve been listening to so much Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger. Buffett & Munger compare everything to the GDP. That’s their benchmark to figure out if we’re growing as a country or not, if the stock market is overvalued, how big our national debt is, and if we’re spending too much money on health care.

How reasonable, right?

Instead of just saying, we spent $2b on elections when we could have fed millions of poor children (this is a silly argument btw), we should compare to how much the country is worth.

As an analogy, it’s seems super charitable for a billionaire to spend $1m in charity (0.1% of his wealth). And if a person owning $100,000 of wealth donates $10,000, it’s seems minuscule in comparison. But that’s 10% of his net wealth!

The billionaire probably affected more change by his $1million dollars to charity but the latter party is more generous.

Sure, there are crazies on both sides of politics. So what? Most of the country is normal hardworking friendly people.

If you talk to a stranger, you would never be able to tell if she’s a republican or democrat. It really doesn’t matter. It seems like it does in the media, but it rarely comes up. Everyone is nice.

There are no military coups here. The opposing parties don’t kill the ruling party.

The loser of the election will even get on stage in front of a worldwide audience and praise the winner, moments after he has lost. And he will tell his party to work with the opposing party.

This is miraculous.

I lived in India for 5 years, where parties would kill each other regularly. There were beatings & routine kidnappings. Being a politician there is a life risking venture. Your whole family could be murdered.

Elections are not safe. There is heavy known corruption. It’s not just a conspiracy theory there. Everyone knows & admits corruption openly. It’s just a way of life.

Is India getting better? Sure they are. They are exponentially improving every year, just like most other democratic countries. They just didn’t have the benefit of having oceans separating their borders like we do here.

Countries in Europe & Asia were under constant threats of new wars. For many generations. America was lucky enough to avoid that with the help of a large moat via oceans.

But now that the world is becoming more civilized and peaceful, the rest of the world will catch up, adopting America’s best qualities.

But unless they breed optimism diligently for multiple generations, America will still be the gold standard in the world for a long long time.

Let’s not miss the forest by looking at the trees. Our problems here are grains of sand compared to the mountains of challenges other countries are facing.

Let’s land the plane: Final thoughts

America will be the fittest nation in the world. Guaranteed.

Americans have already been adopting yoga, organic food (whole foods, trader joes, juicing, green smoothies, etc), meditation, natural medicine, alternative medicine and many other great things of the old world.

And the daredevil optimist body hackers are self-experimenting and revealing their results with the rest of the world. We all can use the internet to self-improve without having to go to a doctor. This is a huge miracle in my life.

Warren Buffett is right. America’s best days still lie ahead of her.

And I’m super grateful for somehow being lucky enough to be here and will do my best to return the favor to the less fortunate.

We are all super lucky to be here.