So long, Hong Kong, it's been fun. I'm sure we'll cross paths again sometime soon.
I'd have shaved if I'd known I was getting some photo ops...
About three years ago, I read the excellent book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. At that time, I made a list of the top 5-10 people in my life that I was to and had similar goals with. I sent out emails to them every once a month with what I was working on.
Eventually, I fell off from this habit. Not sure why - I'd had gotten good advice, stayed in touch with people I like, and it was a positive experience. I started re-thinking building my counsel a little over a year ago.
The challenge is, I've got a diverse set of goals and ideas. I write, I do business, I travel, I create art, I adventure, I'm looking to establish a strong family, and so on. I have friends who are writers or artists that aren't interested in business. I've got friends in business that pretty much always stick to their one city. I know guys who are pretty simple, work a normal job, don't make any art or do any entrepreneurship, but have very strong and good families. I know very successful businessmen who travel and adventure, but aren't interested in having kids.
So I was thinking - how do I balance this all on my counsel?
And eventually, the idea hits me. I need multiple, relevant counsels.
First thing I gotta say is - wow, I appreciate all the people coming and visiting, commenting, sending an email. I've gotten 718 visits since I installed Google Analytics a few days ago, average time on site 2:36. That's over 31 hours of people's lives they're coming to share ideas with me, read what I write. Wow, that's so humbling. It might even be higher than that with people reading on RSS or instapaper. So, very big thanks to the people that are reading, commenting, and letting their friends know about the site. It's quite an honor to take off so fast.
A very pleasant surprise for me has been (1) I'm getting some pretty insightful comments already, and (2) no stupid/rude/idiotic comments. Is the internet evolving or do I just have an awesome crowd here? Both, maybe?
One such discussion is with Alessandro Orsi, who has kindly made some very thoughtful comments/discussion on Luck Doesn't Exist.
We talked back and forth about cause and effect a little bit, and then he made this comment most recently:
I see your point. You look at generations/human race and consider a new born as a ring in a long chain. So when people say bad luck, you say “There’s no bad luck, just previous actions that lead to present situation”. And that’s fine. Like a political analysis of the People of the World.
I needed a new word, so I just made one.
intek: hybrid of "internalize" and ancient Greek "teknik"
intek: To go from a state of knowing a craft or skill theoretically to knowing how to perform that craft or skill in the real world.
I was sitting in Pacific Coffee thinking about business. There's a lot of things I know in a theoretical sense right now, but I haven't built into myself to the point where they're running smoothly. The same concept could apply to anything that needs real world practice - you know something in theory, but in practice you're still doing it wrong.
As far as I know, there's no great word for this. Before "intek", you have theoretical knowledge. After intekking, you can now do in the real world and really know it at a deeper and more meaningful level.
I've been thinking about this for a while. I fancy myself a scientist, which means I use the Scientific Method to figure things out. So I make a hypothesis, and try like crazy to falsify it, and at the end maybe there's some interesting not-yet-falsified ideas.
I train myself in all sorts of science, I keep real genuine article scientists as friends and compatriots. But y'know, I probably wouldn't be called a Scientist by the vast majority of people in this day and age.
So I started thinking. What is someone who does science who doesn't have impressive scientific credentials? And I came to - a Cowboy Scientist.
Cowboy Science is trying to figure out how things for practical reasons or for curiosity, not for academic or institutional prestige.
A rancher who tries to figure out what the best mix of water and grazing and movement for his cattle by takes notes, making a guess at what'll work, and testing that guess - he's doing science. But no one would call him a Scientist with a capital S.
Jay-Z's "On to the Next One" - it's all black and white, there's some beautiful imagery and aesthetics in there, but it's got all kinds of occult/satanic symbolism.
What think ye? A "yea" vote is a vote for aesthetics or general defiance of the religions, spirituality, and philosophy that'd condemn the occult. A "nay" vote says, "No, I don't think any aesthetic value is worth glorifying that sort of thing."
For a music video that's black and white, and also haunting, but lacks the satanic imagery, there's Massive Attack's "Splitting the Atom" -
I played cards for a few years, and I quite enjoyed it. I don't play any more, but sometimes a lesson I learned comes back to me.
There's one writer on poker I learned a tremendous amount from. His name's Mike Caro, and he was one of the first people taking serious interest in the psychology of poker. He wrote a famous book called "Mike Caro's Book of Poker Tells", which is excellent and highly recommended. The basic premise is that people act strong when weak and weak when strong. So if you hear a very little sigh when someone is betting, almost like they're sad, then they've probably got a strong hand. If they're pushing the chips forwards with a little extra force when betting, they're probably bluffing.
This was all very fascinating to me, I loved learning that kind of thing. I'd recommend Caro's Book of Tells to anyone, regardless if you play cards or not. But he also has written quite a bit on self-psychology and discipline in poker. Today I recalled one of Caro's general principles:
Caro’s Threshold of Misery suggests that once you move beyond the maximum you expected you could lose, you stop feeling any more pain, and you’re in danger of damaging yourself further by making weak decisions.
I've got to be honest with you - I don't really like politics anyways. Governance, I like governance. I believe in good governance. But I don't believe in good politics - in fact, I don't even think there is such a thing as good politics. Politics can certainly be bad or stupid or destructive, but almost never good. Diplomacy can be good. Governance can be good. Politics can at best strive not to be bad, stupid, and destructive; it can't ever be good.
Yet, sometimes I'll see a discussion on some outpost of the internet that I visit, and then I might be tempted to jump in. From now on, new policy - no trying to persuade anyone of my politics. Instead, I'll look to share some historical background or references I've read or learned about that I find valuable, and let people mostly draw their own conclusions. Maybe I'll share my own views if I've already given a number of relevant examples.
But no more just trying to convince someone their politics are mistaken - it doesn't work, and besides, I don't like politics anyways. I should talk governance with people with historical examples, not politics. Governance is good. That's something I can get behind, good governance. Politics, not so much.
I've been trying to sleep less, ideally between 4 and 7 hours a night. It's amazing when you get 20 hours in a day - it's almost like two distinctively different days. I feel twice as alive as when sleeping 8, 10, or 12 hours.
I'm still adjusting to it, though. Often I'm slower immediately upon waking up, which is not great, but not terrible. The way I start my day is by stretching and going for a walk or otherwise exercising, then eating some simple food, and having a shower. That first hour or two comes pretty automatically.
But then, I find my energy waxes and wanes more when on lower sleep. I actually feel more alert during my peak moments when sleeping less, but then I hit a low patch of exhaustion for 20 minutes to an hour every so often. During this time, my mind is mostly empty and scrambled.
The danger is that it's easy to get into some mindless clicking around at that point, and get stuck in click-click-click-click online for the next few hours. Normally when my mind is foggy, I like to do really low level admin that doesn't require thought: Reply to routine emails, clean something, things like that. Right now, though, it was a little frustrating, because I have basically no low level tasks to be done. Inbox is pretty much empty, no errands to run, my things are generally clean and orderly. So I was starting to click-click-click mindlessly.
I mixed some instant coffee and went outside. I'm staying on top of Mount Davis on Hong Kong Island, and lightning was striking across the water on the Kowloon Peninsula. So I sat out there watching the lightning strike again and again.
My mate Ryan sent this my way. Great talk:
I'd seen some of this science before, I might've read the original paper. It's good and interesting stuff, I love this topic. And the animation on this particular video was really cool and beautiful.
I like building organizations along those lines - a great purpose on an individual and organizational level, autonomy and great amounts of freedom to get to agreed upon objectives however people want, and lots of opportunities to learn, grow, and excel. It's the kind of place I like to work, and I like managing at the kind of place I like to work.
But then I had another thought - how much is this is universally applicable, and how much of it is good because it goes largely against the grain? See, the studies he cited are interesting, but I imagine there's a certain type of person who is incredibly motivated by financial concerns, perhaps that sort of person sees more money as unlocking autonomy, mastery, and purpose - if someone already has a distinct, driving, enduring meaning for their life, then more money could well translate directly into more of their purpose, more mastery, and more autonomy.