“I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird.”
— Frank Zappa
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
Find Your Minesweeper
Have you ever heard of Minesweeper? It’s this classic game that most of us got introduced to through Windows computers. It’s that game with those squares, and when you click on them, numbers pop-up. Well, that’s how most people define it.
To me, Minesweeper has been one of my favourite games ever since I laid hands on a computer in third-grade. I play it to this day, and I’m always searching for a better app on the phone. Last month, I found a fantastic Minesweeper app.
However, this isn’t about the app. It’s about the game and the story. I taught myself Minesweeper by reading the instructions that came with the Microsoft game. They were in the Help section, and we didn’t have internet then. That was the beginning of my love for the game.
Then, one day, in what I think was sixth or seventh grade, a chapter in our mathematics book had a Minesweeper puzzle as an exercise. I proclaimed with confidence that I could solve it. I did. I solved it as my teacher watched, and so did my classmates.
To solve it on paper was one of my most significant achievements. It was also, what I thought would somehow put me up the social hierarchy in school. It didn’t. It did the opposite. I’d just solved something people didn’t even understand, and I did it on paper.
When I found that app, I started to think about the version of me in third grade who decided to learn this weird game by reading the instructions. Then, the version of me who solved it on paper which is, to this day, one of my favourite achievements. On a random evening, I solved a basic game in less than ten seconds as my younger cousin watched. He still remembers it.
To this day, none of my friends even like Minesweeper. They probably found it weird when I was all excited to find an excellent Minesweeper app. However, I don’t care anymore about anything anyone says about that game.
It helps me think. I play it a lot. I think I play it for everyone since no one else I know does.
To be honest, I’m not particularly remarkable at it. I’m just decently good and fast at it. But if I were to think about what truly defines me, it won’t be writing or self-improvement or anything else. It would be that love for a random game and the passion for teaching myself things.
Learning Minesweeper from a simple Help guide was probably the first thing I taught myself on the computer. I like using my head. I like learning with instructions. I like finding new challenges. That’s me. Minesweeper reminds me of all of those.
Thinking about it all, I believe everyone should find something like that. One activity, one event that captures the essence of who they are as a person.
Everyone should find their Minesweeper.
Stop Explaining Your Context
Another thought I had this week was about how no one can truly understand your context and thought-process even if you tell them your reasoning as best as you can.
This arose because I’ve been in another city since the lockdown in India began. I’ve been staying by myself and managing the entire life, apartment, work situation alone. So, naturally, now and then I get asked the question of why am I not going back, and every single time, I explain the same reasoning.
There are about three to four reasons; some major, some minor but all of them are valid to my family and me. All of those combined are reason enough for me to not go as of now, and probably plan things better.
However, every time I explain my reasoning, another person has their perspective to add.
The conversation goes a long way, and it’s just too taxing because whatever they say, won’t change anything. So, now, I’ve started giving this as the reason instead: I don’t want to.
It’s made the constant back and forth easier. It made me realise that sometimes, you know what you’ve decided and why you’ve done that. That’s where you stop explaining anything at all.
No one can truly understand your context.
Reading List: The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”
To try and explain how this book makes one feel is well, impossible. It’s a short book but not one you finish in one sitting because if you do, you’ve (at least in my opinion) missed out on a lot.
This eerie story is about a lot of things, in my opinion. It’s about depression, about the sheer dependency on one individual, about how usefulness is a measure of someone’s worth, about how there is always going to be kindness, and many other ideas.
It took me around a year of living and then, re-reading this gem to understand it truly. At least, better than I did in my first attempt. Just pick this up and read it. It’s weird, but it’s good weird. There’s a reason it’s so acclaimed.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
Last week, I launched a podcast with some of my friends. So, I decided to take what I’d learned about working with other people and talk about how I failed to delegate but also, where our collaboration thrived. So, I wrote about it on the blog. The article is summarised on the social media channels linked in the header of this newsletter.
P.S. If you’re interested in the podcast, it’s called Let’s Ask My Friends.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.