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#44 You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know
Munger OS, Pink Elephant paradox, Wordle & Dr. Seuss in one email
Seth Godin wrote about difficult problems:
The easy problems are often an illusion. If they were real and they were easy, they’d be solved already.
Difficult problems, on the other hand, stick around until someone with insight, dedication and commitment shows up and gets to work.
Seeking out difficult problems is far more effective than avoiding them.
What problem are you trying to solve today? And while you think about that, here’s some more brainfood for you.
Charlie Munger's 2007 commencement speech at USC Law School captured so many of his core ideas. According to Farnam Street, it is an excellent response to the big question: How do we live a life that really works? And so, they suggest that the speech represents the Munger Operating System for life.
This essay is a collection of ideas from that speech. A lot of thought provoking stuff - but stated in very simple ways! Here are my favourites:
1. Acquiring wisdom is a moral duty as well as a practical one. And there’s a corollary to that proposition which is very important. It means that you’re hooked for lifetime learning, and without lifetime learning you people are not going to do very well. You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You’re going to advance in life by what you’re going to learn after you leave here.
2. Work with and under people you admire, and avoid the inverse when at all possible.
3. You’ll be most successful where you’re most intensely interested. Another thing that I found is an intense interest of the subject is indispensable if you are really going to excel. I could force myself to be fairly good in a lot of things, but I couldn’t be really good in anything where I didn’t have an intense interest.
We've all been through this. We always wonder why those negative thoughts just don't seem to go away. Things you want to be least distracted from end up being there around you always! The Pink Elephant Paradox offers some clues.
Can you imagine a pink elephant? Is it big or small? Hot pink or pastel pink? Does it look happy, sad, tired, or excited? Give your pink elephant as much detail as you can. Now that you have got your pink elephant clear in your head, it is time to stop thinking about it. Think about any other topic for 30 seconds, and observe where your thoughts take you.
How long did you last without the pink elephant creeping back into your mind? For most of us, that pink elephant will appear back in our thoughts within seconds. The same is true of unwanted and intrusive thoughts: the more you try to suppress them, the more they will bother you. This is called the Pink Elephant Paradox.
If you need some suggestions on how to manage this better, head to Ness Labs and check out this short post from Dr. Hannah England.
I resisted it till late February, I don't know why! And then I saw a little competitive league in our home and I know I had to give it a shot as well. And I got glued to it ever since.
Wordle is fun!
Psychological science offers many clues for reasons that led to its viral success. There are some data nerds & computer scientists suggesting smarter ways to play it. Check them out. Or just ignore it all, and continue guessing the next word for sheer pleasure of doing something fun!
I first read Dr. Seuss's work a few years ago. “The Cat in the Hat” was the start and then we read some more. It is easy to notice the obvious goods - rhyming words, catchy phrases and lots of funky illustrations. All these connect well with the kids.
But, there is more to this book (and the rest of his work). It takes some effort to discover. There is a method to his madness. Here are some backstories about two of his most popular works: The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. You will appreciate these books much more once you discover their histories.
Constraints can create magic (we discussed it last week as well). These two books feature right at the top in the exhibit list for this. Lucky are those kids who are getting to experience these books early in their life.
While we are on the topic of children's books, I recently discovered an amazing Children's library in Bangalore. I'm wowed by their collection and environment. My kids go crazy when we are there. Plus, we get to bring those books home and enjoy them over the next couple of weeks. My kids & I are loving our fortnightly finds from this place. Hit me if you want the reference.
Watch this 2:08 mins trailer of Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If you’re not inspired to watch the documentary, you can skip the rest of this section.
We watched this documentary this weekend. And we were awestruck. As per the creator - JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is a thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family, and the art of perfection, chronicling Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world and as a loving yet complicated father.
What a beautiful watch it was. It has all the above and more.
Jiro’s commitment to the art of Sushi and passion to keep doing better is inspirational. Here’s a snippet from the documentary describing Jiro:
A great chef has the following five attributes.
First, they take their work very seriously… and constantly perform on the highest level.
Second, they aspire to improve their skills.
Third is cleanliness. If the restaurant doesn't feel clean, the food isn't going to taste good.
The fourth attribute is...Impatience. They are better leaders than collaborators. They're stubborn and insist on having it their way.
And, finally...A great chef is passionate.
Jiro has all of these attributes. He's a perfectionist. The difference between Jiro today and Jiro forty years ago...is only that he stopped smoking. Other than that, nothing has changed..
83 minutes of sheer inspiration!
Some random goodness from the internet:
Instagram: Han Hsu-Tung (@han_hsu_tung) is a Taiwanese artist who sculpts digitally-inspired carved-wood sculptures. Pixelated carvings bringing the digital and real world close to each other.
Youtube: PaperPaul’s Youtube feed is filled with amazing pop-up card inspiration! God, please give me the skills & patience to craft even a few of those!
Fun reads: The delightful history of fruit stickers (we have seen very few of this aspect of fruit business - except on those apples & Kiwis - but still a very interesting read), Google slides is actually hilarious (a little bit design geeky. Trust me, you have gone through some of the pain points she describes. And, her narration is really funny!)
Before we sign off, here's one from xkcd to cheer your day.
That's all for this week, folks!
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