Lesson from Nassim Nicholas Taleb:
When conflicted between two choices, take neither.
I'm reminded of the old adage, "Never fight when you can run".
At the end of 2011, a wrote about how true freedom comes from being able to seek your own pain.
My opinions have not changed since then, and any success I've had has been due to choosing to take an upfront cost of pain or discomfort in the quest of greater gain in the future.
My ideal life would revolve around having the freedom to pursue pain without risk of dying.
This is a play on words, and is actually not a valid chinese word pairing.
The actual word pairing is "自虐", pronounced "zì nüè", which means literally "to inflict self harm" -- ie: masochism.
The word "智" then denotes "wisdom", and is pronounced "zhì" (almost the same sound, but with a 'h' in the middle)
So "智虐" (zhì nüè) is my way of reminding myself to have the wisdom to seek (the right type of) self-harm in pursuit of growth.
Actually, that isn't true ... but sometimes it's the only helpful thing to believe.
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It's Chinese New Year today.
My wish to you is that you cultivate your unique talent and show the world what you've got!
Working through hard problems sometimes requires a state of altered consciousness.
I play guitar as a hobby. For the last 4 years, I've done nothing but practice techniques. I'm not trying to make music.
A song isn't a song until all melodies resonate in a harmonious fashion. As a composer, you are juggling specific instrumental techniques, as well as the limitations of the musicians that you are working with.
The same applies to throwing a world-class dinner party. It requires that you already have the necessary skills to cook, then you need to consider the ingredients that you have at hand, then , then you need to consider that Sally needs a fully gluten and nightshade free menu .... then you need to come up with options on the fly, then you need to get your sequencing right so that every dish arrives at the table at as close to its perfect condition as possible ... That's why you pay $650 to eat at Noma.
The same applies to becoming a world-class software engineer, or a world-class surgeon, or a world class ...
The above sounds overwhelming. Because to a beginner, it is.
As a beginner, you can't imagine yourself integration all these disparate skilsets unite in the spectacle of a live performance.
Even worse, most beginners rely on a teacher ... and most teachers SUCK. What ensues is that the beginner learns the absolute wrong fundamentals. A wrong starting basis can NEVER result in a professional calibre skillset (unless you take the time to unlearn those wrong facts).
Even from a beginner's perspective, the work of the experts is laid out for you to see. Want to become a professional graphics designer? Go out there, look for graphic designers whom you admire, and pester the crap out of them (sensibly) to give you some advice about their creative process, their challenges, any tips, etc ...
If anything at all, you can have faith as a beginner that people just like you walked the same path you're on, using the same fundamentals that you're working on, and whom have put in the time to refine those fundamentals to a fine degree of operational expertise.
But you don't need to rely on faith for very long. A few months into your journey, you should be able to appreciate why things are the way they are.
The turning point comes when all of a sudden you can clearly see EXACTLY how to get to your end goal, despite not having the capacity. eg: on the billiard table, the intermediate athlete can often see exactly the shot that he needs to make, but doesn't have the skill to coordinate his hands to make the shot happen. His lack of skill is taunting him with the awareness of that lack of skill!
What do you do at this stage? If you're passionate, this is when your motivation is on fire! You know what you need to do, all you need to do is do it. It's just a matter of time ....
It's going to be a couple more years until I have the time, energy, and expertise needed to compose my own music at a world-class level, but I've got time ...
Just take it slow. Savour the challenge. Talk about your problems. Back off when you're beat down. Figure out how to come back stronger.
When things click, wisdom comes at a landslide pace.
P.S: Listening to Adrian Von Zeigler while writing this
A list of podcasts I've listened to in the past month:
Look them up if you're interested.