Sunday Wisdom No. 13

Happy Sunday!

Trust you had a good weekend. 

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Wisdom—a newsletter on the principles of life, strategy, and antifragility.


My Latest Article

The Einstellung Effect: When Prior Knowledge Harms Performance — During creative problem-solving, we all know that prior knowledge and experience can enhance performance by efficiently guiding us towards solutions that worked in the past. However, prior knowledge can also harm performance if the problem requires a novel solution. This is called the Einstellung Effect. It refers to a person’s tendency to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though better or more appropriate methods of solving the problem exist.

The past three editions of Sunday Wisdom: 1211, and 10.


An Idea For You

See things as they are. Seek peace in reality. Control what you can control. Have a strategy to deal with things outside your control.

You don’t need to be positive. Positive thinking is an illusion.


I Enjoyed Watching

Ford v Ferrari (Movie) — Being a big fan of both Christian Bale and Matt Damon, there’s no chance I would have missed watching this movie on the big screen. Minor spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t watched it yet, read it later.

The movie isn’t about Ford v Ferrari. It is about a lot of other things: fast cars, testosterone drive, love for your craft, the ugly side of big corporations, etc. But I looked at it from another very different perspective: freedom.

The character of Ken Miles played by Christian Bale has a mercurial persona with a strong penchant for not following any rules, or giving into authority. He is neither a master, nor a slave. He’s a warrior without a king. He isn’t the most polite, and not the best team player either. He has not much money. But he has freedom. The kind of freedom all of us crave for.

He remains free until the last moment when he decides not to do things his own way; when he tries to do one for the team. Ken Miles owed Ford nothing. Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) had given him full freedom to do as he pleased. There was no need for him to listen to them. But he did, and it didn’t do very well for him.

The takeaway isn’t that you should never do a solid for the team. The takeaway is that you should ask yourself: do I owe them? Because a lot of times, you might not. A lot of times you might have outgrown your team, and being a team player would only stunt your growth. A lot of times, your team doesn’t deserve you. A lot of times, you have to just move on.


Articles Worth Reading

The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius (Paul Graham) — “When you look at the lives of people who’ve done great work, you see a consistent pattern. They often begin with a bus ticket collector’s obsessive interest in something that would have seemed pointless to most of their contemporaries. One of the most striking features of Darwin’s book about his voyage on the Beagle is the sheer depth of his interest in natural history. His curiosity seems infinite. Ditto for Ramanujan, sitting by the hour working out on his slate what happens to series.”

I’m 72. So What? (Longreads) — “I cried when I turned 20, the end of my teenage years. I felt old again when I turned 34 — with a 2-year-old toddler, and facing the imminent arrival of 35, because it was only five years short of the dreaded 40. And now, paradoxically, I feel younger, more vibrant and in better shape physically and emotionally than I did at 60, or even at 50. So is that all a question of perspective? And is that a slippery concept, that concept of “old” varying from culture to culture, generation to generation and from decade to decade?” 


Worth Thinking About

“Wealth is a loaded word, and while some careless folks would define it as dollars, the truth is that wealth encompasses so much more, including options, health, happiness and the pursuit of one’s vision of what the world should be.” — Jason Calacanis (Angel Investor)


As always, please give me feedback. Do you have any comments, questions, or tips that you wish to share? Anything that you liked in today’s edition? Let me know. Just send me a note!

Until next Sunday!

Best,
Abhishek


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