The Iceberg Illusion of Success

I found this picture on the internet and I really loved it and as usual, I would like to use it as a launching pad for today’s article.

I still remember my self when I was young, between the ages of 14 to 23, I used to envy people of my age or slightly older who seemed to have achieved the success that I want for myself.

If I saw another guy with a fancy car, I would immediately justify that by telling myself that he must have rich parents.

If I see a smart guy from a good university, I would say to myself that his parents could afford to educate him in such a prestigious university and then I would say to myself: only if I had the means, then I would have been more successful.

If I saw a guy with a hot looking girl, I would say to myself: “He must have money because that’s why the girl is hanging out with him. I don’t have a car or the money to take her out and give her a nice time”.

Back then, I could not afford to buy all the material possessions that I wanted. I remember when my peers used to have a Game Boy or a Sega Mega drive. They used to come to school and play with those game consoles and it made me feel sad and unhappy because I don’t have one myself. Often times, I would think about my parents with a bit of childish resentment. I had the sense of entitlement because I was immature.

Back then, I could not afford to take vacations or travel wherever I wanted. I was living in a continuous state of perceived lack, holding my happiness hostage to external situations. For a big part of my childhood and adulthood, It felt that my self worth really depends on how others perceive me, how much I have, what car I have, what cloth I wear, what kind of a girl friend I had.

It is needless to say that this mentality is really tiring. It is that of the “compare and despair” mind trap as mentioned in the book by Tom and Natalie Rusk. Each time I compared myself to others, I was feeling helpless and in despair.

It took me a long while to realize, by my own experience, that success is all up to me. I was judgmental and always thinking that those who are successful have made it overnight. The image above reads “Success is an iceberg” and I was oblivious of that.

I don’t want to sound that I was doing nothing in my life except comparing and envying others. I was a hard worker. I was learning all I could about computer programming and hacking. However, all the time I spent and all the sacrifices did not pay off until late in my life when I reached my early thirties.

To the outsider, like the one I was myself, it would feel that I was always like that. While in fact, I had 20+ years of hard work that lead me to the success I am enjoying today.

One of the biggest achievements in my life was getting hired by Hex-Rays and leaving Lebanon behind me. It meant a lot to me to be hired by Mr. Ilfak who was my computer programmer role model, even to this day. The second big achievement was when I moved to the country of my early childhood dreams: USA, the land of technology and innovation. It was Microsoft who employed me and relocated me.

During my journey towards achieving my dreams, especially when I co-authored my first book with Bruce Dang, I could remember all the inner resistance I faced, the sacrifices I made and how with perseverance and positive thinking I managed to successfully write Chapter 4 in the Practical Reverse Engineering book.

Coming to think about it, I am happy to have had a rough childhood with not much financial means. It is the hardship that made me a better person. It is with godly providence that I met people who helped me when I was helping myself. I wish that I will always remember my roots, no matter how “successful” I become.

In conclusion, I am happy to have learned about success the hard way, that success is really like an iceberg and that judging or envying others is the not healthy.

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DC Glass Seattle

I always run into incredible talent at The Pike Market in Seattle, WA.

Today I ran into David Contreras’ handmade glass products.

Make sure you visit his stand in the Pike Market and check out his Instagram page:

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Online Chatting and The 4 Magic Questions

Back in the days, when I was learning pickup techniques from pickup artists, I ran into “The Magic Questions pattern” by Jack Ellis (the author of “Forbidden Patterns”). The purpose of these questions is to have a nice and fun topic to talk to women whom you just approached in a public setting. Women like it when men talk about them, compliment them or do anything thing that make them feel special.

The Magic Questions

Here are the magic questions, ask them in any order:

  1. Visualize yourself in a white room. You’re in a bed and everything is white. How do you feel?
  2. What is your favorite animal? What qualities do you see it as having?
  3. What is your favorite color? How does it make you feel when you think about it?
  4. Imagine yourself on a beach. Nobody is around and the ocean is right in front of you. What do you do?

Take mental note of the answers because you will have to interpret the answers back to them.

What the answers mean

After you finish asking the questions and taking notes, it is time to interpret the answers back to the interviewee. The meaning of each question is as follows:

  1. This is how they view death and dying
  2. This is how their friends view them
  3. This is how they view themselves
  4. This is how they view sex

Putting it into practice

Let me give you an example. You meet a random girl that you want to approach and talk to. You can use the four magic questions as a nice conversation opener:

“Hi, how are you? …”, then you add, “I have a cool personality test that I can do and it reveals a lot about your personality, do you want me to do the test?”

Usually, the girl will answer “Yes, sure”. You can actually sense an increase in her interest and a bit of excitement.

You then tell her: “I am going to ask you 4 fun questions”. You then proceed and ask the 4 questions.

  • You: What’s your favorite animal and why?
  • Her: Oh, I like cats because they are cute and free spirited
  • You: Okay, what’s your favorite color?
  • Her: It is hard for me to decide, but I like the color blue. It makes me feel relaxed and it reminds me of the ocean which I like too much
  • You: Imagine yourself, alone, at a nice sandy beach on nice sunny day, how do you feel?
  • Her: If I am really alone, I would just go butt naked and enjoy myself fully. I would get a tan, swim, run along the shore
  • You: Very good. Now’s the last question. I want you to imagine yourself in a white room all alone, no one around you, you are laying on a white bed. How would you feel?
  • Her: Oh, I don’t like to be alone. But to answer you, I would feel a bit lonely, but I also feel peaceful

There is no right or wrong way on how to do the analysis. In fact, you might be borrowing a lot from cold reading techniques as you give your analysis.

After asking the questions, you now tell her: “Okay, here is my analysis”:

  1. Your favorite animal was the cat. It is how your friends see you. They perceive you as a fun and independent person.
  2. Your favorite color was blue. The color tells about how you perceive yourself. You are a laid back person, chill and open minded. Like the ocean and the sky which are both blue, they are equally big and all encompassing. This also suggests that you are a friendly person
  3. Being on the beach alone and what you would do tells about your sexuality. You are a wild person when it comes to sexuality. You are willing to let go, experiment and show no inhibitions when you feel right about it
  4. Being in a white room alone is analogous to being on the death bed and how you view the end of your life. You might perceive your last moments as moments of peace, yet you feel it is a bit saddening that you are going to leave behind you all your friends whom you treasure and love.

You get the idea! Be creative and make sure you are sincere and try to deduce more about her personality from the chat and the replies to other questions.

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Five Ancient Lessons of the pencil

When Sri Gurudeva Srila Prabhupada ki jaya was walking today he felt his mind reach out over the blue sea to an island shimmering in the distance. When his mind returned it brought a story with it – a story of spiritual instruction. Strange are the ways of inspiration.

Sri Gurudeva Srila Prabhupada writes:

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The “One man band” man!

Meet the “One man band” man! I ran into him in the Boston Common park:

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7 DLL injection techniques in Microsoft Windows

In this article, I am going to list half a dozen DLL injection techniques that can be used by a user mode process running on MS Windows. There could be more techniques but I am sharing with you the techniques that I had first hand experience with.

1. AppInit_DLLs

People used to rely on the AppInit_DLLs registry key. The OS loader queries this value and loads the DLLs specified there when a process is created. I have not used this technique in a long while (last time I used it was on Windows XP) and I heard it is now restricted or discontinued because it was widely used by malware.

2. SetWindowsHookEx API

The SetWindowsHookEx API installs an application-defined hook procedure into a given hook chain. There are various supported hook chains (CBT, Journal, Window messages, keyboard, mouse, etc).

When using the SetWindowsHookEx API, you are instructing the operating system to inject your custom hook DLL into other process where it is relevant. The Windows hooks work when the other processes import / use functionality from USER32.dll.

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The corporate cow or the different kind of companies

Source: NewstalkZB


Traditional corporation

  • You have two cows
  • You sell one and buy a bull
  • Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows
  • You sell them and retire on the income

A Swiss corporation

  • You have 5000
  • None of them belong to you
  • You charge the owners for storing them

A French corporation

  • You have two cows
  • You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads because you want three cows

A Chinese corporation

  • You have two cows
  • You have 300 people milking them
  • You claim that you have full employment and high bovine productivity
  • You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation

A British corporation

  • You have two cows
  • Both are mad

An Indian corporation

  • You have two cows
  • You worship them

An Iraqi corporation

  • Everyone thinks you have lots of cows
  • You tell them that you have none
  • Nobody believes you, so they bomb the crap out of you and invade your country
  • You still have no cows but at least you are now a Democracy

An Australian corporation

  • You have two cows
  • Business seems pretty good
  • You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate

An Irish corporation

  • You have two cows
  • One of them is a horse

An American corporation

  • You have two cows
  • You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows
  • Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has died

An Italian corporation

  • You have two cows but you do not know where they are
  • You decide to have lunch

A greek corporation

  • You have two cows borrowed from French and German banks
  • You eat both of them
  • The banks call to collect their milk, but you cannot deliver so you call the IMF
  • The IMF loans you two cows
  • You eat both of them
  • The banks and the IMF call to collect their cows/milk
  • You are out getting a haircut


  • You have two cows
  • The State takes both and gives you some milk


  • You have two cows
  • You give one to your neighbor


  • You have two cows
  • The State takes both and sells you some milk


  • You have two cows
  • The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other then throws the milk away

Venture capitalism

  • You have two cows
  • You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all for cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows
  • The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company
  • The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more

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