#87 You don’t rise to the level of your inspiration, you fall to the level of your discipline.
Welcome 2023 with lots of new ideas
Welcome all of you in 2023. I am super excited about this year. A lot of things on my mind, some of them already penned and ready to guide the days ahead.
This week just vanished in a jiffy. My sister & cousins were home and we had a lot of fun traveling, eating & playing card games. It’s been some years since we had such an amazing time together. It’s going to be a tough task for all of us to get back to our routine after such an amazing break. Please bear with me as I get the momentum back!
For now, let’s get to today’s finds.
1. The process > the product
Jessica Hagy is back with a really fun post telling us why we should doodle. She gives 10 reasons (and backs them up with her beautiful doodles). My favorite bits:
Because it’s impossible to do wrong. Enjoy the freedom of instant mastery of an art form. You put the pen exactly where it was meant to be. You made the exact shape that was meant to appear. Revel in your work. Like dogs, all doodles are good doodles.
Because the process > the product. Well this one is not really part of her 10 point list, but the core of her idea.
2. Frameworks & common sense
In a recent post, John Cutler talks of the secret sauce of simple frameworks, specially those that feel like common sense. He suggests these simple frameworks are so because an expert in that field happened to be a good teacher as well and translated his skills into a ‘teaching tool’. It’s not an easy task, and so many frameworks fail to deliver what they promise. Why?
Unpacking your own tacit/implicit skills is challenging. It's tempting to think:
"If I could make a simple framework, then people would be able to do what I do."
It is much harder to figure out all the critical areas of knowledge and skill and create conditions where people can practice. With the right teacher (and opportunities to practice), frameworks can accelerate performance. Stand-alone, they don't work as well; at best, they serve as a "job aid"—helping reduce cognitive load while reducing errors. But they don't teach.
3. The Backwards Law
Mark Manson makes an interesting case for “Why the best things in life must be let go”. He takes an example of Navy Seal training to explain the concept of inverted relationship between effort & rewards.
Effort and reward have a linear relationship when the action is mindless and simple. Effort and reward have a diminishing returns relationship when the action is complex and multivariate.
But when the action becomes purely psychological—an experience that exists solely within our own consciousness—the relationship between effort and reward becomes inverted.
It’s not a very intuitive idea. But this is something he has covered in his earlier work and has termed it as the Backwards Law.
The most fundamental components of our psychology are paradoxical. This is because when we consciously try to create a state of mind, the desire for that state of mind creates a different and often opposite state of mind from the one we’re trying to create.
A good read to gain some new perspective on fundamentals of aspects that impact our mental health & relationships the most.
(via Read Something Great by Louis Pereira)
4. Shields Down
Rands claims - happy people don’t leave jobs they love. You may agree with this, or may not! Either way, this post shares some really good insights on thinking about “why” people leave their jobs. The analogy of “shields down” is very effective.
Your shields drop the moment you let a glimpse of a potential different future into your mind. It seems like a unconsidered off-the-cuff thought sans consequence, but the thought opens you to possibilities that did not exist the moment before the thought existed.
I could easily picture my shields down moments from the past events. In retrospect, even the patterns before and after this shield down are very predictable. I am going to be more careful about these now - for my own journey and for the journey of those working with me.
(via The Owl and The Beetle by Luca Sartoni)
5. Zone of Genius
Isabel’s “the zone of genius” is a good read on how to cultivate your creative potential. She quotes Will Smith to set the stage:
“The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams, who want to do things. Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.”
The following equation to define her idea further:
You don’t rise to the level of your inspiration, you fall to the level of your discipline.
Finally, this piece of advice perfectly sums up how to get into the ever elusive “zone of genius”:
Now, whenever I’m feeling ineffective, I ask myself: do I need more discipline, or do I need to be more inspired? Both can be solved for. To solve for inspiration, we can put ourselves in particular environments, consume content, and meet people that whet our creative appetite. Solving for discipline boils down to structure, systems, and negotiating with yourself.
(via Out of Curiosity by Reza)
6. Uncategorized ideas
Sometimes a shoe is not just a shoe - Om Malik on the demise of Allbirds trend in Silicon Valley. Bangalore is showing some symptoms of this ‘cult’ trend, already. Let’s see how it evolves for us.
The problem is that Silicon Valley has gone completely to the other extreme. We’ve created a make-believe cult of objective meritocracy, a pseudo-scientific mythos to obscure and reinforce the belief that only people who look and talk like us are worth noticing.
Gombe Chimp war from the 1970s - it changed our understanding of the species.
There’s an old, and well-known theory in the social sciences, called Contact Hypothesis. It suggests that tensions rise in humans when there is isolation between groups, and decreases when there is intermingling.
(via Read Something Great)
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
Our technology makes many things just happen. Here are some behind the scene footage. (via Recomendo)
Remembering the cross-border harmonies of Indian and Pakistani pop culture. (via fiftytwo.in)
And you think only your profession has weird rituals? Hear from the bigshot lawyer out there. (via Subbu)
A look at the twilight of contemporary Zoroastrianism and India's vulture crisis. (via Twitter)
A kid-friendly summary of “The Beginning of Infinity” in 199 simple words. Brilliant read. (via Twitter)
Abdul Rahman's first national TV appearances on Surabhi. (via Twitter)
All the ways to make Bubble Tea. Over 12 million possible combos to sip on. (via Pudding)
Before we sign off, here's a gentle reminder for you & me.
That's all for this week, folks!
I hope I've earned the privilege of your time.
If you enjoyed this post, show your love by commenting and liking it. I write this newsletter to share what I learnt from others. If you learnt something from this today, why not share it with a couple of your friends to continue this chain?