How Quora Awakened My Curiosity Again

I.

Some of the best things in life are those that comes at the most unexpected times.

It surprises and awakens something inside you.

When I discovered Quora back in 2015, I never expected to enjoy the site as much as I do now. I’ve often encountered people mentioning it before when I was randomly reading through blogs after blogs, forums after forums and social media sites after another. At first I was hesitant to join another site. All of us have countless memberships we’ve already signed up for and I reached to the point where I didn’t want to join anymore at all. But then I got curious and when curiosity strikes, nothing can stop it from killing the cat. A day came when I decided to give it a try.

It was a period in time where I got obsessed in reading about the most popular HBO series, Game of Thrones, based from George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy novel A Song of Ice and Fire. My Quora newsfeed was filled with back stories, fan theories, speculations, predictions and interpretations both of the novel and TV series. Honestly, my feed was only about that!

Reading about it day and night, that’s when I encountered the first Quoran I truly admire, Kelsey L. Hayes. She provides in-depth analyses and interpretations of every part of ASOIAF. She even understands how GRR Martin’s mind works, which is incredible. I’ve never seen someone who had so much depth of knowledge and who possesses such deep understanding on a literary work.

The realization of her character as a person changed my view on a certain aspect of the world. I began to question myself, “What have I been doing all this time?”

I realized that there are a lot of amazing people to meet and interact with; There are so many things to read about; Things to have in-depth knowledge of; Things that will expand and provide thorough understanding on a variety of subject matters.

I got excited.

Really excited.

For the first time in a long time, I was inspired again. My ultimate goal in life has been revisited and re-evaluated. It has been right all along – My search for knowledge and broad understanding of everything in this world. That is still my ultimate goal and Quora is one avenue for that.

II.

It reminds me of an important episode in my life a decade back.

When I was still a sophomore in high school, I discovered a book at home that awakened my true curiosity and it triggered the formation of who I am today. I can still vividly remember that particular night: There was a major blackout in the city on a weekday. We only relied on our emergency lights to guide us and illuminate our paths as we fumble in the dark. I still don’t know what’s gotten into me but somehow, I grabbed this 3-inch A4-size hard bound book, published in 1975, and started browsing instead of playing my portable Nintendo like an ordinary teenager of that time.

The book smelled like it hasn’t been flipped for ages. The pages were turning yellow but still thick and crisp. It was a special edition Readers Digest that we picked up from my grandma’s house a few years back. The book’s content covers from ancient history up until humanity’s prediction of the future. It is filled with interesting, factual, mysterious and trivial information such as crop circles, peculiar diseases, the case of Mary Celeste, the two Titanics, and the bizarre story of a young girl (which I’ll never ever forget). Despite relying on a dim light I managed to read it for hours. I just couldn’t put it down.

Years passed and I’m pretty sure that I’ve read it cover to cover x number of times.

Since that night, I went to bed with a realization and understanding of what my interests are and it explained a lot why I enjoy documentaries and other science and history-related books/movies/TV shows. Thus, my interest with Mythbusters, Ancient Aliens and Fringe Science.

I met myself. As if for the first time.

It was absolute bliss.

Every time I read or watch something about a topic I’m interested in, I feel like a little kid going all thrilled over a piece of candy.

III.

Throughout the years after, my attention and focus somehow diverted to college and everything Advertising-related. A few interests were added along the way. I found myself reading about different religions, philosophy, sociology, psychology and surprisingly literature.

I spent my lunch breaks browsing in our college library, seated in the least explored corners closest to the bookshelf of choice, and getting annoyed at anyone reaching within a 5-metre radius.

I found people I can share and discuss ideas with both in real life and online.

It was a period of awakening.

Reading about all these subject matters opened doors to a whole new view of the world. It was the kind of realization with no point of return.

My own paradigm shift.

I embraced the change and a lot of the knowledge I acquired. Things that used to be important to me seems to have become insignificant. Irrelevant to my everyday life. I found them shallow and childish.

I simply lost interest.

Up until today, I can’t manage to go back, peek and enjoy a little of things that used to be my source of entertainment.

It was the point where I accepted that I’ve clearly outgrown them.

IV.

After college, as a new graduate who just entered the real world, work seemed to be the only thing that mattered. Work seems like how a minor subject acted as if it’s a major one back in the day. In short, it consumed all the time I had, which in all honesty, wasn’t the best choice at all.

I consider that as my dark ages.

My judgements at that time have been clouded by an artificial form of lifestyle. Masked happiness, materialism and high-end way of living. PR was the only thing that mattered. What’s inside has been neglected.

When I quit and focused all my time studying again, this time, a diploma course focused in arts, I looked back to prior and questioned how I lived my life for that short period of time. It wasn’t the corporate life I imagined it to be.

Corporate Sellout. 

That’s what my friends in the creative industry used to refer people who have chosen to be part of the corporate world when clearly they have future in an industry with more intellectual freedom and creative expression.

Apparently, giving up what you believe in and performing tasks you consider unethical for some temporary monetary gain hurts ones character.

Where was the substance?

It was another turning point in life and a chapter to be closed.

V.

If passion is lost, then what’s the point of living?

Fast forward to present day, Quora is a site that continuously inspires me to create and enrich myself. It constantly awakens my curiosity, provides valuable information with a right balance of satisfying entertainment and helps focus on the important things in life. Most importantly, answering on Quora challenges writing, comprehension and researching skills. It’s a site with the right balance of learning and creating without any unnecessary stress.

From the site’s analytics, my knowledge, based on my answers, encompasses Haute Horlogerie and surprise, surprise, Melbourne, Australia. Apart from basic questions about watches, I get a lot of requests about migrating to Australia; Most likely because of my unbiased and subjective answers in regards to the topic.

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The ultimate question is, “Who are my top picks of Quorans to follow?”

To be honest, I cannot consider myself to have explored the site to its maximum potential. I’m still enjoying the tip of the iceberg and little by little savouring my way down to its depth.

So far, the top Quorans on my list are as follows:

  • Richard Muller – A physicist at University of California: Berkeley, author of “Now, The Physics of Time”. Apart from science related answers, he also writes about interesting personal stories that comes with an important life advice.
  • Robert Frost – Works at NASA. Obviously answers a lot of interesting NASA, science and astronomy-related questions.
  • Franklin Veaux – Writes mature relationship advice and an author of a book and site on polyamory, “More Than Two”.
  • Kelsey L. Hayes – Provides in-depth analyses and interpretations of the entire A Song of Ice and Fire novel and Game Of Thrones TV show.
  • CJ Lee – Provides in-depth analyses and interpretations, quotes page references and movie parts of the entire Harry Potter franchise.
  • Jake Williams – Very opinionated and his writing has a satirical nature.
  • McKayla Kennedy – Answers a variety of topics and it’s always rational and mature.
  • Josh Fechter – Gives insightful advices regarding startups.
  • Jordan Yates – Answers a lot of questions about everything.
  • Dan Holliday – He claims to be an “agnostic-atheist-humanist-materialist-utilitarian” Pretty much what he writes about apart from personal experiences that he shares.

————

I have yet to discover more interesting Quorans. There are so many more topics to cover and to read about. Hopefully, a lifetime would be enough to satisfy ones intellectual cravings.

My Only Loyal Trait – INTJ

“Change is the only constant in life.” – Heraclitus (Greek Philosopher)

This is one of the most notable universal lessons I learned early in life. Everything changes. We have to accept and continuously adapt to this inevitable phenomenon.

Palmistry

Contrary to popular belief in palmistry, the lines on our palms changes at least every three months. This can only mean that there’s a high probability that our ‘predictable’ future can change anytime soon. Advantageous for those who didn’t like their palm reading results.

When I was in uni, I met a professor who does palm reading. She read my life and fate as a short one, both ended right in the middle of my palm. Before I heard her reading, for some reason, I’ve always believed I wouldn’t go past 30, the main factor why I didn’t pursue to be a specialist doctor despite wanting to be one since I was 4 years old. Her reading, confirming my short life, just added as another reason for me to live my life to the fullest. I started learning everything I wanted to learn and do everything I want within my capabilities.

Years later, after a life-changing event, a milestone any person can be proud of, my life and fate lines have been doubled. I haven’t reached my 30th year yet but my palm drastically changed its reading. It’s evident how another set of lines started.

Even life within our palms changes.

The Stars

Some people might argue that our star signs can never change since it was the time we were born. Technically it’s true, but our ancestors, the Babylonians, were trying to divide the sky into equal parts leaving out one of the thirteen zodiac signs to match their ancient calendar. The sky has been recently re-assessed by NASA and the thirteenth zodiac has been officially added again. Ophiuchus, the unfortunate one to be left out centuries ago, has made its come back and shifted the rest of the time periods of the other zodiac signs. The result: No one was happy. Probably aside from those who have always thought they never belong to any of the 12 zodiac signs.

I’m totally antagonistic towards this change, from being considered a Gemini, an air sign with two personalities, I’m now considered a Taurus, an earth sign and regarded as the most reliable of all.

Brain Dominance

Another mind-boggling change in my life is the dominant part of the brain. After being re-assessed over and over, it shifted from one to the other for the past two decades.

As a toddler, I used my right hand for quite some time until I became left-handed. My activities growing up revolved around utilising my creativity – dancing, playing the piano, painting, drawing and swimming. In spite my love for perfection and mentally fitting shapes into random objects, I’ve always been considered a creative rather than an analytical kid.

In high school, I found it enjoyable to play Damath, a math checkers board game, and competitive chess. I played badminton for leisure but was surprised that I can use both hands to hold the racket. It was advantageous for me to use both hands during the game. Throughout this time, I still danced and painted once in a while but I stopped playing any musical instruments. Before graduation, we have been assessed to find out which career would suit our skills best. Obviously, I’ve been advised to take an art-related degree.

By the time I’m halfway through my bachelor’s degree, my hobbies totally changed. I stopped any art-related activities such as dancing and drawing. I lost interest with anime, manga and console games. I focused more on my studies and I found my interest in business, marketing, history and languages. The school assessed all of us to find out which part of our brain is dominant to help us self-assess the right path to take after graduation. To my surprise, I was one of the rare students who have balanced dominance for both parts of the brain.

Fast forward to today, based on my interests, hobbies and career skills, I am confident to say that my left brain is currently the dominant part. I found myself learning languages, studying East Asian History, and became technical with precision instruments.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Our palms, the stars and the dominance of our brains may betray us but for me, my MBTI personality is the only consistent one that defines me in my life.

It has been 15 years since I took my first Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test and it has been that long since I’ve been consistently assessed as INTJ.

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The description of this personality perfectly describes who I am. It’s a good read for anyone who are interested in getting to know me because my poor skill in socializing wouldn’t even let anyone get past the “Hi-Hello” stage.

Recently, I took some online test that I got the link from one of my favourite bloggers just for fun. To my surprise, it’s quite accurate since my results is still the same. I took one after another from other sites and the results are always INTJ. It was hard to believe at first since I am perfectly aware that I drastically changed at least for the past decade. My hobbies, activities and belief were totally different, even my approach in life have improved, yet my results still show the same.

According to www.16personalities.com, the most recent test I took, INTJ is described as the Architect Personality.

Apparently, it forms just two percent of the population and women with INTJ type only belong to 0.8% of the population. I have always known that I’m different, always pursuing to be different. I dislike being considered as one of a large group but I still believe that INTJ is too much an honour for me. This is the personality for most villains because of their outstanding intellect and cleverness.

This personality is “often a challenge to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. People with the Architect personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy.” -INTJ (16 personalities)

I love to read. But I’ve never considered myself as a bookworm. I’m actually pretty lazy when it comes to reading but I still prefer to do so because of my curiosity. As a matter of fact, no one in my life has ever referred me as a “bookworm”  contrary to the description of INTJ early in life. I’ve been referred to as “weird” and I got a lot of facial expressions O_o because of my interest in things most kids weren’t interested in.

With a natural thirst for knowledge that shows itself early in life, Architects are often given the title of “bookworm” as children. While this may be intended as an insult by their peers, they more than likely identify with it and are even proud of it, greatly enjoying their broad and deep body of knowledge. Architects enjoy sharing what they know as well, confident in their mastery of their chosen subjects, but they prefer to design and execute a brilliant plan within their field rather than share opinions on “uninteresting” distractions like gossip.

I can’t describe how perfectly fitting this description is to me. Undeniably, it’s the epitome of an INTJ but not enough to be considered quintessential:

A paradox to most observers, Architects are able to live by glaring contradictions that nonetheless make perfect sense – at least from a purely rational perspective. For example, Architects are simultaneously the most starry-eyed idealists and the bitterest of cynics, a seemingly impossible conflict. But this is because Architect personalities tend to believe that with effort, intelligence and consideration, nothing is impossible, while at the same time they believe that people are too lazy, short-sighted or self-serving to actually achieve those fantastic results. Yet that cynical view of reality is unlikely to stop an interested Architect from achieving a result they believe to be relevant.

Architect (INTJ) personality

“In Matters Of Principle, Stand Like a Rock”

It is said that Architects radiate self-confidence and an aura of mystery. One of the things I’m proud of is maintaining that aura to people I come in contact with. Revealing the mystery for me is losing the essence of everything I stand up for.

I once told my mum that in every new job I got into, I have to rebuild everything for the better. It’s like doing an overhaul in the existing systems in place and an in-depth reading on INTJ’s personality makes sense everything to me:

At times it will seem that Architects are bent on deconstructing and rebuilding every idea and system they come into contact with, employing a sense of perfectionism and even morality to this work. Anyone who doesn’t have the talent to keep up with Architects’ processes, or worse yet, doesn’t see the point of them, is likely to immediately and permanently lose their respect.

I’m not a perfectionist but I want systems in place to be strictly followed. My laziness helps a lot with my skill in innovating and creating new processes to make everything easy-breezy.

Another interesting trait that gets me into trouble is my smart-ass way of questioning authority. I’m definitely not a rebel but I believe that I can only properly follow rules and limitations if it makes sense to me. If not, it should be open for re-evaluation. I believe that we shouldn’t follow them blindly just because they are in place. They are after all, regarded as “human laws” created by humans ourselves. What makes the creators right, and us wrong if we begin questioning them?

Rules, limitations and traditions are anathema to the Architect personality type – everything should be open to questioning and reevaluation, and if they see a way, Architects will often act unilaterally to enact their technically superior, sometimes insensitive, and almost always unorthodox methods and ideas. This isn’t to be misunderstood as impulsiveness – Architects will strive to remain rational no matter how attractive the end goal may be, and every idea, whether generated internally or soaked in from the outside world, must pass the ruthless and ever-present “Is this going to work?” filter. This mechanism is applied at all times, to all things and all people, and this is often where Architect personalities run into trouble.

I have always regarded myself as anti-social or one with lack of social skills and this is the reason why:

Architects are brilliant and confident in bodies of knowledge they have taken the time to understand, but unfortunately the social contract is unlikely to be one of those subjects. White lies and small talk are hard enough as it is for a type that craves truth and depth, but Architects may go so far as to see many social conventions as downright stupid. Ironically, it is often best for them to remain where they are comfortable – out of the spotlight – where the natural confidence prevalent in Architects as they work with the familiar can serve as its own beacon, attracting people, romantically or otherwise, of similar temperament and interests.

I don’t consider myself brilliant, but I’m definitely proud of the bodies of knowledge I studied well. I can’t tolerate other people trying to outsmart me in situations where I knew that I know the subject better than they do. Most of the time I just shut up and end the conversation to continue my peace. Other times, when the other party is persistent in trying to make me accept my defeat in this social competition, I just have to join the game and gracefully win in the end.

My friend and colleague recently told me that I’m quite skilled in subtly making people feel stupid, shamed or inessential. But from my end, I consider it as a poorly executed curiosity that I inappropriately communicated across the other party.

Architects are defined by their tendency to move through life as though it were a giant chess board, pieces constantly shifting with consideration and intelligence, always assessing new tactics, strategies and contingency plans, constantly outmaneuvering their peers in order to maintain control of a situation while maximizing their freedom to move about. This isn’t meant to suggest that Architects act without conscience, but to many other types, Architects’ distaste for acting on emotion can make it seem that way, and it explains why many fictional villains (and misunderstood heroes) are modeled on this personality type.

I’m not aware that I move like a chess-board piece, but I’m definitely trying to control situations and maximizing my freedom most of the time. And another thing is that logic is mostly favoured when making a decision and never an emotion. Emotion fades, logic remains forever.

This post is the closest thing anyone can get about getting to know who I am.

> Read more about INTJ personality here <<

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” -Harlan Ellison

A Morning Walk

The darkest hour of the day has just retreated and sunlight starts to pierce through the clear sky. It is dawn, wind is chilling, streets are still empty and thousands of stars can still be vividly seen shining in the midnight blue sky. The woman in her mid-20s observes the celestial bodies with melancholy as she stands in the cold pavement of the unfamiliar metropolitan. The cold slowly envelopes her fragile body wrapped in black trench as her eyes focus on the brightest star.

“Strange. Really strange. I’m staring directly at the past. It’s a reminiscence of a baffling time that nobody could possibly imagine what it was like.”

The screeching of the passing tram breaks the silence and draws her back to reality from her deep thoughts. Her long wavy auburn hair dances with the breeze as she clutched her purse and starts walking towards up the road. It’s a bit of a stroll until she reaches her destination that she can’t even vaguely remember. The trees gestures with their outmost courtesy, branches waving and bowing as she passes by.

The intense aroma of different sorts of coffee linger in the area, inviting and awaking every passers by for a warm cup to grab. Around the corner of the laneway, a hole in the wall caught her attention. A rustic coffee shop with a huge wooden plank nailed just above the head reads “Expresso.” She pulled a bill from her pocket and ordered a latte. In a snap of a finger, the coffee is handed over to her. Or so it seems. She continues walking and crosses the road heading to the next block. The cup warms up her freezing hands as she slowly sips and savour the morning treat.

The coffee triggers a memory.  “How long have I been drinking coffee?” she asks. It has been ten years, “It was the time I decided to start taking risks.”

The vivid memories quickly flashes back in her mind. Her thoughts sucks her back to her senior year in college.

It was the time of the year of acceptance letters. The most awaited moment for every senior student. After receiving offers from the most prestigious universities in the country to take up the course of her childhood dream, she, suddenly, out of rationality, backed out. She was frightened. She got scared of the pre-destined path she’s about to take. She felt something is missing in her life. A spark. A challenge. A risk.

She decided not to accept any of the generous offers. Instead, she has chosen to pursue education on career paths she never even imagined herself doing. Everyone around her was surprised. Her unwavering dream, or so it seems, officially came to an end.

A decade later she finds herself looking back at the very first risk she did in her life. She sips from her cup and feel the energising liquid fills her empty stomach. It’s satisfying and comforting at the same time. Her thoughts linger with a What If.

“What if I pursued my childhood dream?”

She takes a deep breath and exhales generously. The best response she gives herself.

As she reaches the end of the block, a lengthy crosswalk leads to the next one. Her destination is nowhere yet near in sight. She pulls herself together, uplifting her evidently down spirit with all the melancholy that lingers in the early time of the day. There isn’t any stoplights around. Cars vs pedestrian, basic traffic rules apply in confidence that everyone obeys it despite the lack of signals. She braves the crosswalk and begins to cross, level-headed and fearful of the massive vehicles that are about to pass by. Her heart keeps beating fast, terrified and unsure of the outcome she’s taking. However, she feels excited, challenged and surprisingly alive.

In every step she takes, she puts herself in a balance between life and death. But it doesn’t stop her from pursuing such a risky path. She holds her purse tightly and advance like a determined chess piece making a move. Certain of the progression and aggressively faces the path yet to be taken. Vehicles of all sorts continue to pass by without hesitation and she continues to brave the crosswalk. As she gets through, she looks back and observes the path she has just taken.

She suddenly realises that for a decade, she has been spending her life taking the path of a crosswalk. The moment she started to take the risk, she has been continuously taking one risk followed by another. And she’s still not yet halfway through. It may not be an easy path, but undoubtedly, she knows that it’s the right path to take. The only way for her further development as a better person, a passionate individual and an interesting personality with a broadened understanding of the world.

Looking forward, she continues her stroll towards her destination. Boldly facing the direction of the wind. Sipping again from her cup, feeling the cold breeze brush against her pale skin, she obliviates all her worries, unnecessary What If and enjoys the rest of the risky journey ahead.

“Risks are definitely worth it.”