Musings Sep 2022
Some online gems:
I have admired perfectionists, secretly wanting to be one. If you have this ailment, this article on Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese philosophy of imperfections is a must read. In this practice, you appreciate imperfections, and lead life that pursues betterment and not perfection.
Don’t underestimate Ants. Scientists finally estimated the number of ants worldwide at 20 Quadrillion (1 Quadrillion = 1000 Trillion). That’s about 2.5 million ants (~ population of Chicago) for every human.
This simple nice list of what good managers do.
This annual journey of the bar-tailed Godwit that flies 7000 miles in search of endless summer without stopping to eat, drink or rest.
It continues to be a golden age for creators. There are several models that create art from text and now Meta released Make-A-Video which generates video from text. Playgroundai is a good site to dip your toes in creating Art from text. Also this week, OpenAI announced that DALL-E is available for all to try without a waitlist
Some Tweets that I liked
A nice proof that 0.999… = 1
Research that strategic silence can amplify your voice
Many of Robert Greene’s tweets, this one as an example
The beautiful word Philomath - a lover of learning and studying
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.
There is often a choice between spending your time on things that are pleasurable vs. things that are fulfilling. Pleasurable things (binge watching, eating things with sugar, endlessly scrolling social media etc.) are easy to start and easy to spend a large amount of time on. However, they leave you feeling dissatisfied in the end. Fulfilling things (exercising, going for a hike, creating something, meditating) on the other hand are hard to start, require tenacity to sustain but leave you with a subtle sense of joy and accomplishment at the end.
In tech speak, Pleasurable things lend themselves to being viral, scale better and can be monetized more easily. As an example, TikTok (a pleasurable thing) which launched in 2016 has ~1.4 billion users while Headspace, one of the most successful meditation app that launched in 2010 has ~30 million users. So the attention of the brightest minds in the world is skewed heavily towards creating more pleasurable things, a trend that is unlikely to reverse.
So, the chances that you lead a life of pleasure and pursue a profession primarily to finance your pursuit of pleasure are high. A life that will wildly swing between the lows of drudgery at work, and the fleeting highs of pleasurable things. A life where fulfillment and value addition to others will feel elusive.
Hang on, don’t despair! There is a way out of this. Firstly, recognize the above conundrum. Seeing things as they are is an essential step to avoiding the trap. Secondly, make pursuit of fulfilling things very easy and pursuit of pleasurable things much harder. For instance, rid your phone of apps that keep pleasurable things at your finger tips and join a local hiking group or find a partner to run or bike with. Your initial weeks of making this deliberate choice of fulfilling things over pleasurable things requires will power but progressively it will feel easier and even natural. For the two options have an important difference. Pleasurable things however long you pursue them will never feel fulfilling. However, Fulfilling things with a certain amount of practice will be increasingly pleasurable. Not only will they have the satisfaction in the end, but they will also be easy to start and sustain.
So here is to a life that is opposite of what most choose, a life of fulfillment.
Neat post, KC! One other approach to increasing the share of fulfilling activities is what Katy Milkman terms as "temptation bundling" -- complementing a source of instant gratification like checking Insta with something that requires more effort to get going like a treadmill. I've made a note to myself to read your enjoyable posts only when I'm on my elliptical:)