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Showing posts from January, 2012

Mistakes - an under-appreciated learning tool

"Failure is the stepping stone to success"
"Success comes through failure"
"Experience comes from bad judgement"

And so on.

We know this to be true, yet why is it that we don't do it well? Children seem to be much better at this than adults.

I think it is because we are so awash in a sea of content/knowledge/activity/choice as adults that we forget that focus is the key to learning and success, not content alone.

It seems the best way to learn is to start doing things without learning all the content, stretch through failure into success, and then get the benefit of "expertise". The reason this works - failure provides context for memory.

Kids do it all the time. They test failures until parents "correct" them.

Finding our way through failure is the uniquely human way of co-opting the innate "fear of death" into a positive memory (and skill) making activity.

The existential pleasures of ngramming

A picture is worth 1000 words. But a graph is worth 1000 pictures.

Are we doomed? Are we in the greatest period of human existence? what do writers write about the human condition? What's important has not changed - life, children, death, food.. in that order. This is why we are different from animals.

How much things are important - has changed.

And how?

Stay hungry, Stay Foolish 2.0 - "get uncomfortable"

For a long time,  "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" struck a chord. By this Steve Jobs meant that one should look at the future the same way a hitchhiker looks at an untraveled path - stay forever hungry for experience, stay foolish enough to never stop when the path becomes "safe" enough.

2012 is the year to 'get uncomfortable' by choice, for many reasons. For one, getting uncomfortable is the way to understand how the world is feeling right now - with politics, with jobs, with the economy, with climate change, with the future and with a general sense of purpose. For better part of the last 50 years, the imagined purpose of economic progress was to link people, cultures and worlds - to make everything work on a 'global' scale, as this meant more "efficiency" and "speed". But that train has made a round trip through the globe, once.

For another, there is less coordinated thinking in the leadership around the world towards painting a c…