I'd like to introduce you to my all-time favorite comic series, Lone Wolf and Cub. It's incredibly deep philosophically.
Ogami Itto, "Lone Wolf," is on a quest for revenge after something terrible happened to him. With him is his little son Daigoro. Itto is doing assassinations to raise money for his quest.
In book 3, "Flute of the Fallen Tiger," Itto comes across a fallen samurai named "Sakon." Sakon left being a samurai and now makes money begging and playing carnival games. With his money, he eats nice food and drinks, and he cares very much about people. He buys little Daigoro a toy.
Daigoro is in training by his father for the quest they're on. Itto cuts the toy in half with his sword:
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.
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.
I think this is my favorite song... pretty much sums up the essence of living a masculine life.
And now the end is near And so I face the final curtain My friend I'll say it clear I'll state my case of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full I traveled each and every highway And more, much more than this I did it my way
Regrets I've had a few But then again too few to mention I did what I had to do And saw it through without exemption
This is one of my favorite videos. We're living in the future. It's amazing.
I try not to forget it. I just got off Skype with Yifei in Boston. I called him on SkypeOut (cost: 10 cents USD) to get on Skype (free). Now I'm talking to a fella on the other side of the world. For free. I'm in Hong Kong on top of a mountain. He's in the middle of a city on the other side of the world. And we're talking to each other, real time, for free. No problem. My voice gets converted into digital stuffs, send through wireless signal to a router, which goes through fiberoptics under the ocean to Boston, which gets to Yifei's router and beams it to his laptop.
We're editing in Google docs (free). I can watch as he types and it instantly appears on my screen. This is so marvelously amazing. We're living in the future. I can't get over how amazing this is. Watch that video if you haven't yet. Or watch it again. It's so funny and so true. We're in the future. Wow.
I started listening to Sun Tzu's "Art of War" on audiobook recently. I'd tried to get through it before, but the translations I picked up were a little too dry, or I wasn't in the right state of mind for it.
Listening to the narrator speak out Sun Tzu's strategy made me realize something - the fundamental judgment errors people make are independent of any particular field. Going on tilt in poker or attacking immediately with exhausted troops after it's taken three months to build siege engines - are these not the same thing? Overpursuit past objectives in war, and deviating from core investment strategies after a short term win or loss - certainly, this is a similar judgment flaw.
This particular audio version includes commentary written by other Chinese military strategists, and one story is how one commander and his officers were at a neighboring kingdom trying to convince them to make an alliance against the barbarians they were fighting. After a week of great treatment, the neighboring king grew more cold and distant to the commander.
Being perceptive, the commander guessed that the barbarians might have also sent envoys, and now the king was choosing which side to support. The commander captured and interrogated one of the palace attendants, who said yes, the barbarians did send envoys.
The commander's party was less than 30 men, it was him and some of his officers. The barbarian envoy had over 100 men. But, in the cover of night they snuck to the barbarian camp, lit it on fire, played war drums to make their forces look larger than they were, and shot down barbarians with bow and arrow and crossbows, and completely destroyed the enemy forces.
Vitamins were the sort of thing I always casually knew I should do, but I did it haphazardly in the past. Starting about three months ago, I would track whether I took a vitamin every day, and at the end of the week list how many days I remembered to take a vitamin. It's been 7 out of 7 pretty much every week since then.
The first vitamins I picked up in Seoul were chewable vitamin C tablets. I was pretty tired and run down at that point and wasn't sure why, so I changed my diet a little, started doing more walking, and started taking vitamins and my energy picked up quite a bit. I don't know how much of that was the vitamin C, but since then a couple times I've felt a little under the weather I took two of them that day, and my energy has been pretty high.
I was just about out of vitamins, so I bought some more here in Hong Kong. I got vitamin C again, and I was also looking for something for joints since I had a knee injury in the past. I was looking for some L-Glutamine which I heard was good, did a little casual research on, and it seems good:
It is also known that glutamine has various effects in reducing healing time after operations. Hospital-stay times after abdominal surgery can be reduced by providing parenteral nutrition regimes containing high amounts of glutamine to patients. Clinical trials have revealed that patients on supplementation regimes containing glutamine have improved nitrogen balances, generation of cysteinyl-leukotrienes from polymorphonuclear neutrophil granulocytes, and improved lymphocyte recovery and intestinal permeability (in postoperative patients), in comparison to those that had no glutamine within their dietary regime, all without any side-effects. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutamine#Aiding_recovery_after_surgery
Flames erupted through my lower body, shooting from my calf to halfway up my back.
I'd been training pretty hard lately to get back into shape - every day at least 15 minutes of exercise, closer to an hour most days. I'd mix up the form, a little walking, jogging, hiking, swimming, or training with weights. Now I was having a masseuse in Hong Kong break up the lactic acid and knots in my muscles, and I cried out when she dug her elbow into my already tender thigh.
Focus. Focus. I read a lot of history, and greatly admire the warriors that wouldn't cry out even when wounded or being interrogated. I was just reading a story a samurai who faced torture for a day straight without crying out once.
I try to go into my head, separate the pain from myself. Like I'm sitting on top of a cliff and watching pain battle my body down in a valley below. I do roughly the same thing towards the end of a workout when things start to hurt - I don't try to tune it out. I observe it. I try to enjoy it - time is slowing down and becoming harder? That's good, it means I get to experience more time. And the hurt is proof I'm alive.
I do the same if I'm ever feeling sad - I try to reflect and appreciate the sadness. It's an emotion, it's something natural to be felt, and can be enjoyed like a bitter type of food or an acidic glass of wine. It burns a little, but acknowledging transforms it in a way. Instead of something to be fought, it can be accepted, acknowledged, and appreciated for what it is.