He who wishes to fight must first count the cost.”
~ Sun Tzu
I have always been interested in military tactics, particularly in the bygone era of pitched battle tactics. I have begun to question whether the conventional wisdom surrounding strategic warfare has been made null by the advent of nuclear weapons.
This year I decided to try and make running a part of my daily life — if I am being honest, I was finding that my lack of lower body endurance was affecting my Sunday league soccer performances and I wanted to do something about it. However in the process I have actually come to enjoy it; once you get your body up to speed with the demands of regular running, it becomes a mental challenge more than anything. The days when I run the fastest and the farthest are the days when I am completely dialed in and not even paying attention to my time or distance travelled.
I usually do 5-10km runs, 3 times a week: it’s the distance and frequency that I have found to be manageable and sustainable. Running has become one of my favourite tasks of the week; I hope the benefits and tips below can motivate you to start running too.
I have been thinking quite a lot about my goals for this blog and why I write. I have come to some conclusions and realizations that I hope will help guide me in the coming months as I look to improve upon my writing style and content, and reach a wider audience.
“The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose, it will defend itself.”
~ Saint Augustine
Truth is a property which I have been wrestling with in the last week. How we define truth, what constitutes a truth, and whether multiple truths are simultaneously possible, are difficult questions with difficult answers. I will not attempt to answer any of them. Instead, examining the inverse of truth, the lie, more specifically the conscious lie, can perhaps shed light on the importance of the truth in walking a life path built on honesty and reality.
“Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves — their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.”
~ Peter Drucker
Most people by their mid-20s, and perhaps well into their 30s, are deeply engaged in the process of career-building. This process is pretty much non-negotiable, and if one does not deliberately seek out a fitting and fulfilling career, one will simply be forced upon them in due time. It is therefore important to assess oneself to identify the career that maximizes one’s potential.
I heard this poem in a podcast several weeks ago — it was written by Manolis Kellis, a professor in computer science at MIT who works in the field of computational biology. He wrote this poem as a young man for his high school yearbook; it is about goodbyes and the transformations that take place during major transitional periods of one’s journey through life.
“We are all fascinated and overawed by statistical truths and large numbers and are daily apprised of the nullity and futility of individual personality, since it is not represented and personified by any mass organization.”
~ Carl Jung
The scientific revolution and subsequent technological advances over the last 500 or so years, but particularly in the last 150 years, has given the human race a historically unprecedented level of power and control over circumstances. The age of enlightenment, in succession to such a scientific revolution, gave birth to a new epoch of intellectual exploration, cultivation of ideas and political transformation. We have science to thank for our higher-than-ever life expectancies and infant survival rates, for our planes, our iPhones, and our medical institutions. But at what cost?
“All human wisdom is contained in these two words — Wait and Hope.”
~ Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo, written by Alexandre Dumas in the mid-1800s, is a timeless piece of literary fiction and one of his most famous works alongside The Three Musketeers. Largely unbeknownst to the general public, Dumas co-wrote this book, and many others, with the ghostwriter August Maquet. The 19th century produced so many world class writers and philosophers who so finely addressed the important questions of humanity and powerfully articulated the atmosphere of the times, and Dumas is no exception.
“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will — either by having nothing happen at all, or by having everything happen at once.”
~ Paulo Coelho
I have looked for some time now — in history and literature, on the internet, in the stories of those around me — and have concluded that there is no right path in life. Life simply is. In the end, we all become dust and bones; whichever path you take, that is uniquely yours, is the path you are meant to be on. The journey is your own, the luggage yours to hold. That being said, a lack of tangible evidence to confirm one’s actions are moving them towards the intended goal is disheartening. I would like to believe that you get out what you put into life, but sometimes the race seems to go on and the finish line evermore obscure.
I recently stumbled across a poem by a First Nations chief that I wish to share; I hope it has the same effect on you that it had on me.
“…for it is a habit of mankind to entrust to careless hope what they long for, and to use sovereign reason to thrust aside what they do not fancy.”
Most people, myself included, are so entrenched in their belief systems that they refuse to open themselves up to any alternative reality. We also tend to connect and associate with those who share similar views with us, thereby reinforcing them. Such an entrenchment can be further reinforced by confirmation bias, the tendency to search, interpret and favour information that confirms our beliefs and values. The effects of such a cognitive bias manifest in many forms within our society, for example in the partisan nature of our political landscapes.