POSTED August 07, 2012
Efficiency in Motion ⚓
Since moving down to Venice Beach a few weeks ago, I’ve taken to surfing once or twice a week (when in Rome!).
I’m still pretty terrible, but I almost prefer it that way— one of the fun parts of learning a new skill that doesn’t come easily is that you’re forced to break down the activity into its core essentials and examine everything you’re doing.
One of the things that stood out to me as I was splashing around in the water, struggling to keep up with my surf instructor and paddle out against the current, was how much energy I was expending getting out there. While I was paddling like a madman, working heroically to move an inch forward in the water, the seasoned surfers around me glided smoothly out. By the time I made it out to catch even one wave, I was exhausted and ready to call it a day.
Instead of smooth, powerful strokes through the water, I was chopping around on the surface, getting almost no surface area when paddling— essentially wasting every stroke. Not only had that superfluous, wasted motion not gotten me anywhere— it had tired me out and kept me from achieving my goal— getting out repeatedly to catch waves.
So the key idea I’ve gotten from surfing so far is the value of efficiency in motion— the application of the right kind of effort/motion towards maximal output. Cut out the excess and do just what is necessary, with the right form— keep it simple and do it well.
Reminded me of something my friend Kortina wrote a couple of years ago: “”concise, clear expression of an idea” is pretty much my definition of good anything and applies not only to writing, but also film, objects, tools, clothing, even movements.”
POSTED July 12, 2012
(via rahmin) ⚓
"The person who wins the Nobel Prize is not the person who read the most journal articles and took the most notes on them. It’s the person who knew what to look for. And cultivating that capacity to seek what’s significant, always willing to question whether you’re on the right track — that’s what education is going to be about."
POSTED July 07, 2012
If you didn’t already know: Brian Philips from Run of Play is pretty good at writing about sports. Great piece about Federer’s enduring greatness and that awkward twilight phase of elite athlete’s careers where we’re not quite sure how good they’re supposed to be (shoutout to Kobe!).
Some good lines:
- There’s something underneath all that stuff, some deep-down fantasy thing we go to top-level sports to get — whether it’s reconciliation with the body or simulated tribal combat or the dream of immortality — and some athletes just make you see it.
- The saddest moment in the career of a great athlete is the one when he’s tagged with the word “still.” One day you’re fast. One day you’re slow. There’s an in-between day when you’re “still fast,” and that’s the day when everything hollows out.
- But because he’s been “still great” for so long — because we keep seeing the end coming, even if it never actually comes — Federer has also acquired an aura of weird sadness over the past few years that’s hard to reconcile with the way we used to think about him.
POSTED June 26, 2012
Why Are American Kids So Spoiled?
Good piece, presented without comment. ⚓
"In “A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting” (Broadway), Hara Estroff Marano argues that college rankings are ultimately to blame for what ails the American family. Her argument runs more or less as follows: High-powered parents worry that the economic opportunities for their children are shrinking. They see a degree from a top-tier school as one of the few ways to give their kids a jump on the competition. In order to secure this advantage, they will do pretty much anything, which means not just taking care of all the cooking and cleaning but also helping their children with math homework, hiring them S.A.T. tutors, and, if necessary, suing their high school. Marano, an editor-at-large at Psychology Today, tells about a high school in Washington State that required students to write an eight-page paper and present a ten-minute oral report before graduating. When one senior got a failing grade on his project, his parents hired a lawyer."
POSTED June 26, 2012
Been trying to apply this Hemingway advice as a daily habit when it comes to work - stopping at the right moment and waking up on a fresh note instead of all-nightering it as usual. The difficulty is that finding flow is tough enough that willfully stopping what you’re doing and interrupting it seems like a huge waste. ⚓
"You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and you know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again."