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EE 011: Someone Should Have Renamed It As Wisdom Protocol Instead
The Serenity Prayer is not a great name. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it goes like this:
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference
My engineering brain would have refactored it into the following pseudocode:
Use Wisdom to determine if X is changeable
If X is changeable, apply Courage to change X
If X is not changeable, apply Serenity to accept X
In fact, I would go as far as to argue, if I had perfect wisdom to tell whether something is changeable or not, I wouldn’t even need courage or serenity.
My self-talk would go something like this:
It’s changeable? Duh, change it.
It’s not changeable? Too bad, suck it in, my man.
Occam’s razor would dictate I should rename it as the Wisdom Protocol.
Speaking of change and acceptance, we’re into December 2022 — the time of the year when it’s normal to take stock. Reflect how it has been for you this year and what you would try to change for the coming new year. I’ve done one round of that during this newsletter hiatus. I will do another one towards the end of the year. I haven’t worked out the full details. But, I like how Carl Jung talks about growth:
The spiral in psychology means that when you make a spiral you always come over the same point where you have been before, but never really the same, it is above or below, inside, outside, so it means growth
We don’t have to have different goals for every year. We can be pursuing the same one year after year. But, we need to experiment. Change our methods or accept our constraints and work within them. And there’s nothing that says you cannot do both at the same time. 😉
So long as we make these efforts of changing and accepting, even if results seem a bit slow, even if it seems like we’re running on a treadmill, we’re still growing. You may just be on a spiral revisiting the same challenge at a different level. And as Jung said, grow in a spiral way.
I’m keeping this mental image of climbing up a mountain in a spiral manner as I stew on my next steps during the Christmas and New Year break.
One Change I Made
One thing I did try to change during the hiatus is that I went to do deadlifts in public. First time ever.
I did it as an easy slow-ramp towards eventually doing it in competitions. I get sweaty palms easily when I’m nervous. Sweaty palms are no-good for deadlifts, as you can imagine.
One Constraint I Accepted
One thing I came to accept during the break is how I would always view the world from a very engineering-centric lens. I would almost always take concrete real-life examples and try to make abstractions out of them. It’s a weakness of mine as too much abstraction confuses people.
Which is why, initially, I chose to name my rebooted SubStack “The Specific” as a reminder not to be too abstract with my observations and end up failing to connect with people.
Now, I realize every person’s greatest strength is often their greatest weakness. And vice versa. The key is to modulate the strength either by choosing the right arena for the trait, or fortifying it somehow.
I reckon I still need to learn to be more specific with examples, stories, and case studies. Just like how Razuvaev taught Waitzkin to learn Karpov from Kasparov, I need to learn how to imbue in great personal stories without losing my strengths in thinking abstractly.
Speaking of great personal stories, I really like this one by Jen Widerberg recently where she linked a personal childhood lesson in softball and doing well in interviews. Better yet, the lesson extends beyond softball and interviews as it teaches how to influence other people’s decisions through your expectations and body language.
Next issue before my next hiatus is on Christmas Eve. I’ll see you again then 👋
Elsewhere on the Internet
Speaking of spiral,pointed me to this helix by Balaji S. I like to think that Carl Jung and Balaji are great minds who think alike :)
Recently, there’s a lot of news about AI. Here’s my favorite recent example of how AI helps us humans make decisions by.
I want to thank , , , Alvin T of , , Jen Widerberg of for reading drafts of this.
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