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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#89)

Book excerpt I was thinking about:

“The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity. It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this.” (James Clear, Atomic Habits)


The dragon rises yet again:

A great history of Bruce Lee’s struggle to be taken seriously as a film star.

An American citizen, born in a San Francisco hospital in 1940 (the year of the dragon), he was racially and culturally ostracized nonetheless. Lee was turned down for the lead of a wandering Shaolin monk on the ABC action drama Kung Fu for being “too authentic.” (The role went to David Carradine, whose inauthenticity as a white man playing a half-Chinese martial arts master proved more salable.) For all the ballyhoo of social upheaval at the time, the 1960s—with the Japanese internments of WWII a recent memory, and the Vietnam War headline news—were not kind to Asian Americas. “The truth is,” Lee flatly told an interviewer, “I am a yellow-faced Chinese. I cannot possibly become an idol for Caucasians, not to mention rousing the emotions of my countrymen.”

https://thebaffler.com/latest/the-dragon-rises-yet-again-semley


Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#88)

Quote I was thinking about:

“Minds are like parachutes, they only function when they are open.”

Lord Dewar

Book excerpt I was thinking about:

Most individuals who start as active professionals… change their behavior and increase their performance for a limited time until they reach an acceptable level. Beyond this point, however, further improvements appear to be unpredictable and the number of years of work… is a poor predictor of attained performance.” Put another way, if you just show up and work hard, you’ll soon hit a performance plateau beyond which you fail to get any better. This is what happened to me with my guitar playing, to the chess players who stuck to tournament play, and to most knowledge workers who simply put in the hours: We all hit plateaus.” (Cal Newport, So Good They Can’t Ignore You)

The decision constantly is does one push past the plateau in one domain (which requires a lot of focused work) or aim to reach a lot of plateaus in many different domains (also which requires a lot of focused work)?


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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#87)

Book excerpt I was thinking about:

“Changes that used to take a month and a half now take three. The amount I can exercise is going downhill, as is the efficiency of the whole process, but what’re you going to do? I just have to accept it, and make do with what I can get. One of the realities of life. Plus, I don’t think we should judge the value of our lives by how efficient they are. The gym where I work out in Tokyo has a poster that says, “Muscles are hard to get and easy to lose. Fat is easy to get and hard to lose.” A painful reality, but a reality all the same.” (Haruki Murakami and Philip Gabriel, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)


Oranges are Orange, Salmon are Salmon:

For centuries, oranges were orange and, still, orange was not a color—it was called yellow-red. It took another two hundred years for the color to earn its name, to become a form that could give itself to others—to be ascribed to flowers, stones, minerals, and the setting sun. To the west, oranges followed the path of Spanish missionaries and lent their name to Orange County and the Orange State. In California, the fruit fed the miners of the gold rush who passed through mission towns. In Florida, there were so many groves that, by 1893, the state was producing five million boxes of fruit each year. In this tropical climate—nights too humid and too hot—oranges would ripen too quickly: they were ready to be eaten while still green. And so, from the twentieth century onward, green oranges have been synthetically dyed orange, coated to match consumer expectations. Orange reveals that humans cannot imagine a species detached from its color, even when we are the ones who detach it.


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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#86)

Book excerpt I was considering:

…if you want to get the most out of your day, do your most important work—your ONE Thing—early, before your willpower is drawn down.” (Gary Keller, Jay Papasan, The ONE Thing)


Quote I was thinking about:

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.”

Thomas Edison

Why do tennis crowds have to be so quiet:

Interesting tidbits of the history of the sport, such as this:

Court tennis, as it’s called in the United States, is a bonkers sport. Imagine a squash-like court—smaller than a tennis court, enclosed on all four sides, with a ceiling—and add some seriously weird shit. There are long awnings on three sides of the court, halfway up the wall, called “penthouses.” Not only can you hit the ball off of these, you have to serve off the top of them with a funky spinning lob shot. Oh, and there are a bunch of holes in the wall that you can hit the ball into, like a pinball machine, called “galleries.” And there’s an anomalous notch, only on one side of the court, called the “tambour,” off which shots can also be played. Also the racket is small, heavy, wooden, and as asymmetrical as the court itself; the head tilts to one side, as if it melted and drooped while being formed.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/why-are-tennis-crowds-quiet


Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#85)

Quote I was thinking about:

”We retain the facts which are easiest to think about”

B. F. Skinner

Book excerpt I enjoyed:

“And don’t confuse being driven with being authentically animated by an inner calling. One state leaves you depleted and unfulfilled; the other fuels your soul and makes your heart sing.” (Timothy Ferriss, Tribe of Mentors)