Sunday Wisdom No. 40

Knowledge and experience cannot be generalised. Skills from one domain aren’t always transferable to another, i.e., they are domain dependent. A great chess player isn’t a great strategist by default.

Happy Sunday!

It’s the time for your weekly dose of multidisciplinary reading to upgrade your thinking and decision making skills. If you’re enjoying Sunday Wisdom, share it with a friend! And if you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can subscribe here.


📝 What I Wrote

In the last two editions of Sunday Wisdom, I wrote about how to begin learning and the importance of healthy friction in personal growth. This week’s essay is the first part of a bigger idea on being a multi-hyphenated person.

Kind v Wicked Domains: Why Sports Champions Aren’t Your Success Gurus

Knowledge and experience cannot be generalised. Skills from one domain aren’t always transferable to another domain, i.e., they are often domain dependent. A great chess player isn’t automatically a great strategist. A good poker player isn’t automatically a good dealmaker.

A person can definitely be called “smart” if they are good at chess or poker, or any similar sport, but they are only as smart as a chess or a poker player can get. It doesn’t mean that they are smart in every field. Continue reading…

Read The Full Article Here

Once you are done reading, I would love to hear what you think about it. If you agree and want to add to it, I’m all ears. If you disagree, I look forward to hear your point of view. We can have collective growth only through a collective exchange of dialogues and ideas. Therefore, do share your thoughts in the comments.


💡 Little Bit of Wisdom

Life will never conform to all our desires. Ever! You can either get good at dealing with this fact or good at avoiding it.

👉 More LBWs


📑 I Enjoyed Reading

The Stupidity of The ‘Spare Bedroom’ — “Given how expensive domestic property is, it is bizarre how much space we waste. One of the dumbest things is the ‘spare bedroom’; in London, even a crappy spare bedroom might cost you as much as a new Bentley, and yet spare rooms spend 95 per cent of the year housing a stupid empty bed.”

Perception and Your Career — “Uber has lost $38 billion since 2013 and yet still has a market valuation of around $60 billion. As I discussed on The World on ABC News, I don’t believe Uber will ever recoup investors’ money and I still stand by this. But the reason Uber is valued so highly has little to do with reality and more to do with perception. In the short run, perception is more profitable than reality.”

Realign, Reprioritise, and Rebuild Emotional Connections — “What decisions does this new landscape require? What fantasies does it inspire? How do we talk about it? And how do we put those plans in action in a time when we’re either living with each other 24/7 like never before or living apart, in isolation, like never before?”

The list of all the articles I’ve written can be found here. And the past three editions of Sunday Wisdom are here: 3938, and 37.


🔍 An Interesting Find

Apart from fighting COVID-19, India is also fighting a large swarm of locusts set out to destroy tonnes of crops. The northern part of the country just had one of the worst locust attacks in the last 25 years. As I started reading about our new foe that’s making all the news right now, I found them to be fascinating creatures.

Locusts are essentially grasshoppers, albeit a very specific kind. The ones creating all the havoc in India are called desert locusts.

They usually prefer to stay alone, and avoid other locusts and humans. But on certain rare occasions—when the conditions are perfect, when the weather is just right and the soil moist, when there’s plenty of food, they transform!

If their eggs are concentrated in small spaces for large groups to mingle together, within few hours after the eggs hatch, they start behaving very differently. They shed their solitary lifestyle and become gregarious. Give it more time and their physical appearance starts undergoing a transformation too. They change colour — from dull green to bright yellow and black.

Given these bright colours, their predators start thinking that they might be toxic, so the population grows unchecked. A single female desert locust can lay 60–80 eggs thrice during her 90-day life cycle. Now suddenly there’s a population explosion. But there’s just one problem — food.

As resources dwindle, they begin migrating in large swarms in search of new vegetation. The wind takes them far and wide. A typical swarm can be made up of 150 million locusts per sq. km and is carried on the wind, up to 150 km in one day.

If they don’t find anything, they’ll turn into cannibals and start preying on each other, so there’s an added advantage to keep moving. These locusts will lay waste to everything on their path — crops, stems, leaves, pulses grains. They eat everything.

Even a very small, 1 sq. km locust swarm can eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people. On top of that, solitary locusts can start behaving gregariously within a few hours of being placed in a crowded situation, while it takes gregarious locusts one or more generations to become solitary when reared in isolation.

Well, as for India, we have had record harvests this year. We had 100 million tons of food grains by the end of April — far more than the annual requirement of 50-60 million tons to support welfare programs. Although COVID-19 has disrupted supply, I guess we are safe for the time being, until the next calamity strikes.


📹 I Enjoyed Watching

How to Use Writing to Sharpen Your Thinking — Tim Ferriss on why you should write daily, and how writing can sharpen and improve your thinking.

Picasso’s Blue Period — “Pablo Picasso’s most famous period, his Blue Period, was both cathartic and life changing. It will give the young artist the emotional and artistic tools to eventually pioneer cubism and, eventually, revolutionise modern art.”

What Makes Muscles Grow? — “We have over 600 muscles in our bodies that help bind us together, hold us up, and help us move. Your muscles also need your constant attention, because the way you treat them on a daily basis determines whether they will wither or grow.”


🤔 Worth Thinking About

Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run—in the long run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.

— Viktor E Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning


Thanks for reading this edition of Sunday Wisdom! Did anything stand out? I’d love to hear about it. You can write in the comments, or reply to this email.

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Best,
Abhishek