Sunday Wisdom No. 4

Welcome back! I just wrapped up my next YouTube video, but I'm running a bit behind schedule. If you haven't seen my videos yet, do check them out when you have time.

Also, I'm renaming my newsletter to Sunday Wisdom. I've been maintaining this name internally. It's about time I started calling it officially.

My goal is to share many little bits of wisdom in a single email. I'll try to cover a wide range of useful ideas each week. In the form of articles, videos, bite-sized posts, book recommendations, quotes, and more. These are practical ideas that will improve your thinking, and help you get smarter.

Now, let's get into it. Here's your weekly dose of fat-free wisdom.


3 Lessons from Arnold SchwarzeneggerAs a kid, I used to be a huge Arnold fan. I remember The Terminator movies had blown me away. Only the first two. Not the others.

Back then I didn't know that he was such a successful businessman as well. I learned more about him from his autobiography. Now I admire him more as a businessman and a strategist.

Here's a boy who ran away from Austria and become successful in America. He lived the American Dream.

Here are three things I've learnt from Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'm sure you would find them useful as well.


The Danger of Comparing Yourself to Others — Which would you rather? To be the most intelligent person on Earth but considered the stupidest? Or the stupidest person on Earth but considered the most intelligent?

Human beings are, in large part, driven by the admiration of their peers. We seek to meet a deep biological need by acting in such a way that we get praise and adulation. For our wealth, our success, our skills, our looks.

It could be anything. The trait we are admired for matters less than the admiration itself. The admiration is the token we dance for.

But, this can have some serious ramifications in your life. This is why you need an Inner Scorecard, and not an Outer Scorecard.


The Psychology of Introversion If you want to picture a person for a first date, a quiet, reserved introvert is probably not what first comes to mind. A gregarious and entertaining personality is usually preferable. No wonder the advice for introverts who go on first dates, or business meetings, or investment pitches has long been some form of: Be more extroverted.

Circle of Competence: Warren Buffett on How to Avoid Failures Consistently  Are you committing the same mistakes that most people do? Are you playing games where you don't have the aptitude? Are you taking up challenges just to impress others, and in turn meeting with only failure? I this video I talk about the Circle of Competence. Warren Buffett uses this method to avoid problems consistently. Successful managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs have used this method to reach where they are today.


I usually manage to read around 30 to 35 books a year. I highlight important lines, write detailed notes about the important ideas. But I've never taken any chapter-wise notes. Ever!

All the prolific readers I admire take detailed chapter-wise notes. So, this is something I'm going to start from now on.

I'll start writing down short summaries of the chapters I finish. Once I finish the book, I'll relook at the summaries, trim them (if required), and create a book summary.

I would slow me down a bit. But even if I'm able to read 20 books a year, instead of 30, I'm good! Reading should be more about retention that quantity. Writing summaries, and explaining the core concepts would be very helpful.


How a Malaysian Film Became a Global Icon for Diversity  I love digging out less popular YouTube videos. I also love world cinema. This video explores Sepet, a Malaysian movie, and its exploration of multiculturalism.

Mindful Context Switching: Multitasking For Humans  I had talked about the myth of multitasking along with its adverse effects on productivity. However, this article takes a different view with something called Mindful Context Switching.


"You can't stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf."  Jon Kabat-Zinn

We often blame the circumstance, other people, bad luck, or our own lack of skills. This only increases our pain. A good strategy is to look at things as they are, and take rational countermeasures.

Can you think of some effective ways we can build this habit? Share your thoughts and ideas with me. You can DM me on Twitter, or email me at hellocoffeeandjunk [at]

The past three editions of Sunday Wisdom: 03, 02, and 01.

Until next Sunday!


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The Prison of Good Reputation

Happy Thursday!

Welcome to another video episode. I’m trying to make my videos less like, “Hey, look at me, I’m so awesome. Don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and share,” and more like, “Hey, this is something I learned that has helped me. Hope it helps you as well.”

Let me know if it’s working :)

The Inner Scorecard

Which would you rather? To be the most intelligent person on Earth but considered the stupidest? Or the stupidest person on Earth but considered the most intelligent?

Human beings are, in large part, driven by the admiration of their peers.

We seek to satisfy a deep biological need by acting in such a way that we feel praise and adulation; for our wealth, our success, our skills, our looks.

It could be anything. The trait we are admired for matters less than the admiration itself. The admiration is the token we dance for.

But, this can have some serious ramifications in your life.

Warren Buffett says, “The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard.”

Enjoy this episode, and if you learn something new, don’t forget to tell me about it.


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Sunday Wisdom No. 3

Dear Reader,

Things are not always as they appear. Often when we solve one problem, we end up unintentionally creating another one that’s even worse. The best way to examine the long-term consequences of our decisions is to use Second-Order Thinking.

Imagine that you are a restaurant owner. To boost flagging sales, you set an ambitious target for your team to create three new main course menus in the next six months. Inspired by this stretch goal, your chefs end up creating five new main course menus—a great result! Or is it?

Second-Order Thinking: How to Uncover Hidden Consequences While Making Decisions

Read the full article to find out what you miss out on when you ignore second- and third-order consequences of your decisions.


Imposter Syndrome: You Deserve What You’ve Achieved — Do you ever feel like a “fraud”? Do you ever feel that you would be exposed soon? Do you feel that you simply inherited your qualities and accomplishments, and got everything easy by just being lucky —that you might not really deserve the success you enjoy right now?

The Psychology of Persuasion — When is the last time someone told you a fact that caused you to change your mind? It’s likely you can’t think of a verifiable example. And yet, when it comes to trying to persuade others, we often employ facts in arguments thinking they will change the mind of the other person. More fact means stronger persuasion—that’s what we tend to think. Well, that’s not how it works.


Stop chasing shortcuts.

Getting rich, losing weight, increasing productivity, getting more followers, starting a new business—everything that we wish to achieve often come with heavily promoted shortcuts as alternatives. For example, “Try this simple trick to become instantly super productive,” or “10 way to get 10x followers in 10 days.”

I know, I do a few of them now and then too, especially in my YouTube videos. I’m just as guilty as the next person competing for your attention. But clickbait doesn’t sit right with me. It’s against Coffee&Junk’s overarching philosophy. (I’ve recently updated all my YouTube video titles.)

Shortcuts aren’t what I’m selling. Because the truth is, there are no shortcuts.

So, don’t fall prey. If the shortcuts and secrets would have worked as promised, they wouldn’t be shortcuts. They’d be the norm.

All good things take time and effort. So, my advice is to embrace the process, and gradually improve it. Improve your thinking, your strategy, and your tactic.

Play the long game.


A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked — “As a philosophical question, whether humans have control over their own actions had been fought over for centuries before Libet walked into a lab. But Libet introduced a genuine neurological argument against free will. His finding set off a new surge of debate in science and philosophy circles. And over time, the implications have been spun into cultural lore.”

Men May Have Evolved Better ‘Making Up’ Skills — “A woman’s relationship with another woman is often gravely damaged if one woman achieves greater status than the other or somehow outdoes her. Men, by contrast, seem to better tolerate these kinds of ups and downs, which may be why men seem better than women at maintaining large same-sex social networks.”


“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” 

— Elie Wiesel


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The Pygmalion Effect: How We Can Nudge Others to Greatness

Dear Reader,

In this video I talk about The Pygmalion Effect, and how we can use it to nudge people around us, our friends, family members, colleagues, towards success.

All kinds of leaders, managers, and CEOs implement this technique (knowingly or unknowingly) to propel their teams to success. School and college students can benefit from this as well.

So if you are manager, or a teacher, or a parent, this video is definitely for you!

Once you are done watching, do share your thoughts with me. Comment on YouTube, or simply reply here.

What kind of videos would you like to watch? Do you have any favourite YouTube channel? I would love to know. Kindly share them with me.

Lastly, here’s the early access to next week’s video. It’s about Warren Buffett’s advice on having an Inner Scorecard, and why comparing yourself to others is a recipe for disaster. Become a patron, and get access to it right now!


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Sunday Wisdom No. 2

Dear Reader,

There is a difference between the value you create and the value you capture.

If you only create value you won’t be able to make a living. If you only capture value you’ll go out of business, or be called a phoney. 

For example, if you are very diligent at your work, but nobody recognises your contribution, or somebody else is taking all the credit, you aren’t capturing much of the value you create.

Also, if you aren’t doing good work, and instead you are focussing all your energy in signalling, people would soon recognise you as an imposter.

You can read the full article here.


If Ambition Spells Probable Disappointment, Why Pursue Excellence? — How do you deal with failure? We all have a habit of saying, “It’s OK,” or “It doesn’t matter.” It’s a lie you tell yourself to let you feel that this failure didn’t get to you. In most cases, failures do get to you, and that’s why it hurts so much. In fact, failures hurt twice as much as successes feels great. What if we could find a way to grow stronger and get better through failure?

Outcomes Bias: This is What You Miss When You Judge Decisions by Their Outcomes — Take a moment to imagine your best decision in the last 6 months. Now take a moment to imagine your worst decision. It’s very likely that your best decision preceded a good result and the worst decision preceded a bad result. Drawing an overly tight relationship between results and decision quality affects your decisions every day , potentially with far-reaching, catastrophic consequences.


Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the BrainEveryone knows that exercise is good for our health. However, it can also transform our mind. SPARK by Dr. John J. Ratey is based on scientific research and teaches us how exercise is truly our best defence against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to aggression to menopause to Alzheimer's. A great read that would inspire you to live an active lifestyle.


The Work You Do, The Person You Are — “I have worked for all sorts of people since then, geniuses and morons, quick-witted and dull, bighearted and narrow. I’ve had many kinds of jobs, but since that conversation with my father I have never considered the level of labour to be the measure of myself, and I have never placed the security of a job above the value of home.”

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong? — “Will was “that kid.” Every school has a few of them: that kid who’s always getting into trouble, if not causing it. That kid who can’t stay in his seat and has angry outbursts and can make a teacher’s life hell. That kid the other kids blame for a recess tussle. Will knew he was that kid too. Ever since first grade, he’d been coming to school anxious, defensive, and braced for the next confrontation with a classmate or teacher.”


“Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own.”

— Derek Sivers, Anything You Want


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