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Musings October 2022
Yeah, sorry I know it is November.
Some online gems:
I periodically return to this article by C.S Lewis on the danger of living a life in pursuit of getting into Inner Rings.
Waking up by Sam Harris is one of the most helpful apps I have downloaded in recent times.
Scott Krisiloff read every Time magazine issue from 1923 to 2000 and summarized it into 10 key takeaways.
Meta’s AI makes significant strides in predicting structures of 600 Million proteins which has far reaching implications for science.
A timeless speech on Personal renewal that was delivered in 1990. It makes a fantastic case of throwing out any stereotypes of age and pursuing a life of curiosity, learning and adding value to others. It also makes a succinct case for not being a barnacle.
Some Tweets that I liked:
A cool GPT3 function for Google sheets
The value of front squats. Consider adding it to your exercise routine
Meta studies shows that playing video games does not have a negative impact on children
Good advice for any age
A cool software product that synthesizes top papers into a summary answerNew beta feature in : Synthesize the top papers into a summary answer. Updates when you remove irrelevant papers
5. A good way to use your work Talents at home
Notes to my younger self
Series of notes on multiple topics that if I go back in time, I will share with my 20 year old self. A snippet below.
Through life you will be addicted to taking on different identities. Attending a well done Independence Day celebration will urge you to declare "I am a Patriot". Moderate technical skills will want you to keep repeating to unsuspecting strangers that "you are engineer". This desire to take on a identity and nurture that starts innocently, becomes addictive and left uncontrolled is a major source of angst.
A good way to spot the identity that you are currently obsessed with is to examine conditions under which your ego is badly hurt. For instance, many people struggle when they are fired from a Job. The financial impact of that is real. However, the stinging pain is due to the invalidation of identity that you have carefully nurtured.
In fact, a good portion of life is spent on reaffirming and validating this identity. Just see the tag lines on LinkedIn or the number of posts that start with "Incredibly proud ...". The moment you fall into the trap of writing posts that start with "Honored to be ...", "Incredibly proud ..." etc. you are in trouble. As you have in that act, watered this “identity beast” that each day wants more.
This identity does not lead to mastery. In fact, I am going to be bold enough to suggest this identity has no useful purpose. It leads to a fixed mindset, it takes enormous energy to sustain and it is brittle - the slightest threat causes deep lasting pain.
To reduce the grip of this trap, first see identities for what they are:
You are not an Engineer. Instead, you have cultivated certain skills that pay well.
You are not a Parent. Instead, you have this wonderful experience to learn, laugh, love and get annoyed with a small human.
You are not a Patriot. Instead, you believe in the superiority of people who live in a bounded region in the world and have cultural similarities to you.
Then after reducing your identity’s hold on you, if you still feel compelled to assume one, take on one that is benign. For instance, the identity of a "Learner" is a good one to take on as almost all things that happen to us are learning opportunities. So it is more resilient and requires little external validation.
Eventually, when this addiction of forming and nurturing identities has lost its grip on you, shed all identities. Resist temptations to take a new one and to nurture it. Live a life of lightness without this unnecessary baggage of identity.