Sunday Wisdom No. 83

Snap discoveries based on intuition—as dramatic as they sound—are rarities. All hunches that turn into important innovations unfold over much longer time frames.

Welcome to Issue 83

👋 Hi, I’m Abhishek. Welcome to Sunday Wisdom, a weekly newsletter packed with timeless insights on better thinking and decision making. I appreciate you being here. If you are loving this, you can buy me coffee or share this newsletter with a friend.

The Slow Hunch: Why All Eureka Moments Are Lies

Snap discoveries based on intuition—as dramatic as they sound—are rarities. All hunches that turn into important innovations unfold over much longer time frames.

Stories of aha moments and serendipitous breakthroughs often blur out the messy details in service of narrative pleasure. In truth, real breakthroughs aren’t eureka moments, they are slow hunches. It’s time to read and learn.

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The 10% Rule of Investing

My original investment goal was to get a steady return of 15%, but I’ve been making double that—almost 30% for quite some time.

To give you some context, if I’ve invested $50,000 in the stock market over the years, I’ve made 30% of that, which is $15,000. That’s pretty decent in my opinion.

The real test of my mettle came when the market crashed due to the Corona virus in early 2020, but thankfully I’ve sailed through it pretty smoothly, and that’s the main reason I’m enjoying my good returns. It’s time to watch and learn.

Watch on YouTube

Noteworthy Ideas

Following are a bunch of ideas on various topics from my personal library of notes that I’ve collected over the years. I briefly talk about my note-taking process in this video.

Be Slightly Underconfident

Confidence is the new overconfidence. To have an open mind, you need to be slightly underconfident.

We make the worst mistakes when we are too cocksure about the wrong things. It’s when we start to believe that we know better and don’t let the world help us. This is when the world teaches us a lesson.

But being slightly underconfident gives us the mindset to hear out others’ opinions, and tweak our plans when we come across ideas that run counter to ours. Being underconfident increases our chances of success.

Don’t Complain

We prefer pointing out how things are bad instead of doing anything about them. We love to complain because it’s easy. Complaining gives 1/100th the satisfaction in 1/1000000000000th the effort. On top of that, when somebody fixes the problem we love giving ourselves credit for having brought it to attention.

It’s easy to confuse being “helpful” with actually being helpful when you are a master complainer. A lot of people think they’re “adding value” by nitpicking and supplying unsolicited takes when in reality they’re draining energy and momentum.

Don’t complain. Choose to be a maker instead. Instead of pontificating, take ownership by asking yourself, “Instead of stating the obvious, what can I do to fix this?”

Don’t be Hypervigilant

We think being hypervigilant will keep us safe, but being afraid all the time doesn’t protect us from danger.

When we are terrified all the time, we can’t pick out the signal from the noise. If we’re constantly scared, we can’t correctly notice when there is something genuine to fear.

True fear is a momentary signal, not an ongoing state. If one feels fear of all people all the time, there is no signal reserved for the times when it’s really needed.

Fixating on particular dangers blinds us to others. We focus on checking the road for snakes and end up getting knocked over by a car. In fact, what we fear the most is rarely what ends up happening. 

Remaining calm is a better strategy because when there’s real fear, our brain is smart enough to warn us in advance to prepare ourselves. Being hypervigilant is counterproductive.

👋 That’s All!

If you are a creator, a decision maker, a knowledge worker, or anybody who wishes to get better at thinking and decision-making, join RE:Thinking.

The course will run from 19th April to 20th May 2021. Core Live Sessions will run twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays at 21:30 IST / 17:00 CET / 12:00 ET. Registration begins on 22nd March, 2021.

As always, please give me feedback. Did any of the ideas resonate with you? Do you disagree with anything? What do you want more or less of? Any other suggestions? Please let me know in the comments.

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