Sunday Wisdom No. 41
People who try out different things and dabble with new domains are labelled as “jack of all trades, master of none.” It cannot be further from the truth.
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 kind and wicked domains and on how to begin learning. This week’s essay, which is a continuation of my previous essay, discusses why it is important to be a generalist.
The Perks of Being A Renaissance Man
Being flexible and adaptive helps. All of us are going to have to become polymaths to thrive in a wicked domain. Being multi-hyphenated will always give us leverage. In the real world, being a generalist is the norm, because specialists and kind domain experts don’t survive here.
In short, it’s a good strategy for us to become a Renaissance Man—one who has many talents and areas of knowledge—if we want to thrive in this wicked domain called life.
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
Smiling is a skill. It can be learnt.
Being friendly is a skill. It can be developed.
Being approachable is a skill. It can be inculcated.
Your personality is not a fixed entity. It can grow.
📑 I Enjoyed Reading
Sridhar Vembu's Vision From The Village — “Nine years ago, a Chennai-headquartered software products firm purchased 4 acres of land in one of the villages, Mathalamparai, to begin operations from the district — roughly 650 km from the Tamil Nadu capital. Its founder had a vision: To take Silicon Valley to the village.”
Paint Fades, But Murals Remember People Killed By Police — “Across the country, artists have created portraits of George Floyd, Amadou Diallo, Eric Garner and others as markers of pain and loss.”
The 13 Best Movies About Why You Shouldn’t Trust The Government — “America continues to battle the coronavirus, demonstrators fill the streets to decry police brutality and racism, and former members of President Donald Trump’s own Cabinet are denouncing his leadership. What follows are some of the best cinematic efforts that capture that wary mood over the years.”
🔍 An Interesting Find
I’ve been reading The Obesity Code, and it makes some interesting claims. Excess calories can certainly cause weight gain, but that is only the proximate cause, not the ultimate cause as we all have been led to believe.
What’s the difference between the proximate cause and the ultimate cause, you ask? The proximate cause is immediately responsible, but it’s the ultimate cause that started this whole chain of events in the first place.
Take alcoholism for example. The proximate cause behind alcoholism is drinking too much alcohol. Based on this, a doctor can only suggest the patient to stop drinking too much alcohol. It doesn’t make sense. Why did the plane crash? Well, it was due to gravity. Then make sure next time you generate more lift than gravity. It doesn’t work like that.
Alcoholism can be caused due to multiple reasons: the addictive nature of alcohol, family history, stress, or an addictive personality. After identifying the real cause in a particular case, you can suggest treatment or rehab.
Similarly, a plane might crash due to human error, bad weather, or poor maintenance. Once you identify them, you can suggest better pilot training or better maintenance.
Therefore calories are not to be blamed for weight gain. From the surface they might appear to be the reason behind weight gain, but it’s only a superficial reason. If we consume 2000 calories of chemical energy (food) in one day, possibilities for their use include: heat production, new protein production, new bone production, new muscle production, cognition (brain), increased heart rate, increased stroke volume (heart), exercise/physical exertion, detoxification (liver), detoxification (kidney), digestion (pancreas and bowels), breathing (lungs), excretion (intestines and colon), and fat production.
We certainly don’t mind if energy is burned as heat or used to build new protein, but we do mind if it is deposited as fat, and that’s where lies the clue.
Obesity is a hormonal dysregulation of fat mass. The body maintains a body set weight, much like a thermostat in a house. When the body set weight is set too high, obesity results. If our current weight is below our body set weight, our body, by stimulating hunger and/or decreasing metabolism, will try to gain weight to reach that body set weight. Thus, excessive eating and slowed metabolism are the result rather than the cause of obesity.
In conclusion, obesity is not caused by an excess of calories, but instead by a body set weight that is too high because of a hormonal imbalance in the body.
📹 I Enjoyed Watching
James Altucher at TEDxSanDiego — I’m not his fan, but he does lay down some good ideas here. “In this brutally honest talk, injected with outrageous humour, he reveals how at one point failure led him to consider suicide, and how he turned his life around by following five key practices.”
Matthew McConaughey’s University of Houston Commencement Speech — The audio has some problems, not all his speech is great, but there are some very good points, especially in the beginning. But it’s always fun to listen to Matthew McConaughey. “If happiness is what you are after then you are gonna be let down frequently, and you are gonna be unhappy much of your time.”
Why Are There So Many Holidays In December? — I love their self-aware mildly funny demeanour. “How many winter solstice holidays are there? Why do we have more holidays at the end of the year? Let's look at some of the history of winter holidays, astronomical and evolutionary effects, and coincidences that led to us have so many holidays in December.”
🤔 Worth Thinking About
The artist and the fundamentalist arise from societies at differing stages of development. The artist is the advanced model. His culture possesses affluence, stability, enough excess of resource to permit the luxury of self-examination. The artist is grounded in freedom. He is not afraid of it. He is lucky. He was born in the right place. He has a core of self confidence, of hope for the future. He believes in progress and evolution. His faith is that humankind is advancing, however haltingly and imperfectly, toward a better world. The fundamentalist entertains no such notion. In his view, humanity has fallen from a higher state. The truth is not out there awaiting revelation; it has already been revealed. The word of God has been spoken and recorded by His prophet, be he Jesus, Muhammad, or Karl Marx. Fundamentalism is the philosophy of the powerless, the conquered, the displaced and the dispossessed.
— Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
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P.S. All typos and grammatical mistakes are intentional.