“One mark of a great soldier is that he fight on his own terms or fights not at all.”
— Sun Tzu
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
Of Resting and High Conscientiousness
I strictly remember this one instance when I was in upper kindergarten. They used to give us these books to do pages of cursive writing. I remember that one day, I forgot to do it. I went to the drawing-room with a pencil and my book in my hands. My father works late, and somehow my mother was up too that night.
They said it was just homework and I could let it go. I didn’t let it go, though. I finished those pages at 1 AM that night, and I went to sleep. Whenever I’m working on something, and I can’t figure it out or when I’m postponing something because of the lack of time, I often look back to that moment.
A while ago, I shared an app called Intellect in the Sunday Weekly on all social media channels. It’s a great app because one, it is made by psychologists, and two, it asks you to check-in every day. An underrated feature is that it also does your OCEAN or the Big Five test, among some others.
If you’re not aware of the test, the Big Five or OCEAN test evaluates individuals on five important factors that comprise their personalities. These are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. What each signifies is a quick Google search away if this piques your curiosity.
As an individual, I’ve always had moderately high conscientiousness. I did a test during high school, during college, and so on. It’s my highest trait among all my OCEAN ratings too. However, I feel that coupled with my high Neuroticism often brings about a situation where I forget to rest.
Days go by, and ultimately, I crash. That happens a lot, to be honest, and while I try to be mindful of it, it’s often difficult because you have a moderately strong work ethic. Recently, it happened again. So, I decided to restructure some things. That’s when I found the bit for the high neuroticism affecting sleep.
As per my research, High Conscientiousness should ideally translate to someone keeping well with their responsibilities, both individual and societal, in general.
However, I’m still curious and pondering over what happens when these clash with each other. Is your sleep important if you are super organized, have a strong work ethic and happen to have said Yes for more than you can handle in one day? How important is it? Are you still the kid who walks up to do his book of cursive writing at 1 AM?
I’ve realised to convince myself (for now) that resting is not a selfish act, as much as social media and general statements about it represent it to be. In my opinion, and this is a very recent epiphany: it is selfless. Resting is a selfless act that an individual performs to make sure they can help others and carry out their responsibilities well.
After I defined it that way, I started to prioritise rest and pausing in between automatically. I also felt less terrible with saying No or there being delays. I’m not sure if you’re like me or not, but if you’re going through the motions without resting, try framing it the other way round.
To help people to the best of my ability, I need to rest. Otherwise, I will not perform as well as I can. Therefore, I must rest now.
What Do 2347 Minutes Make?
Annual wrap-ups are the new social media marketing strategy that every brand is using now. From Spotify to Duolingo, year-in-reviews are here to stay both annually and in our Instagram stories for a week, at least. I shared my Duolingo year-in-review too. It had 2347 minutes on record.
A friend asked me how I find time to do most things I do in a day. To be honest, I didn’t have an answer because I was just doing Duolingo for roughly 10 minutes a day. Then, I converted 2347 to hours, and it’s nearly 39 hours. Surely, I learned German for a little over than a day and a half in a year of 365 days. I don’t think that’s much at all.
I can’t speak German well or at all still, but the other day I was playing FIFA with my cousin, and we had selected German teams, and I could read a simple ad in the background of the game, and I felt that was enough.
The answer to “What Do 2347 Minutes Make?” then is, perhaps, a simple one. Growth.
To Read: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War
“So long as victory can be attained, stupid haste is preferable to clever dilatoriness.”
I finally read the Art of War from cover to cover. I loved how even if the book was quite literally about the military and tactics involved during the war, I could already see situations in my head where I could apply those principles. From my experience in working at a startup and comparing our feature-set with an established competitor, to tiny projects I begin myself, to even minor arguments.
In any case, I feel the reason I never picked it up was that I was worried it would be a literal translation. If you’re worried about that, I recommend Lionel Giles’ annotated Edition. As per my research, that’s the best edition to read if you want to extract anything of value from it.
What’s On My Mind?
The irony that helping someone is precisely not about seeking a thank you, and yet, being helped makes it your responsibility to thank the helper if you can. If we only help someone to get a thank you, then that’s no help at all. If we fail to thank the helper, we’re ungrateful. Even though a genuine helper is never seeking thanks. It’s a classic catch-22.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
There’s a slightly significant change which is that the blog posts have moved from Saturdays to Sunday afternoons. The Sunday Weekly posts have moved to Sunday evenings. The idea is, well, I need some rest and some time to myself as well. I believe it’s imperative to make sure I can do this long-term.
That said, last Sunday, I wrote about my perspective on the Survivorship Bias and my belief that there’s an irony in its general usage. Most people use it as a shield for inaction, while it is, in my opinion, our only reason to act.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.