🤯Unknown Unknowns #124 - Pride
“I'm proud of you.”
If you're Asian, I heard this from my parents more than you think, if you're not, I heard it much less.
I heard it when I graduated, occasionally when I got promoted, and when I bought my apartment.
But I never felt proud of these accomplishments. Graduating from HS and college, you just have to sit there. Getting promotions either felt like it was overdue or that I was just fooling my boss.
I wasn’t proud because I didn’t feel like I accomplished anything. Even if someone else told me they were proud.
You can only feel pride in your accomplishments if they measure up to your sense of taste. When you refine your sense of taste, you gain an understanding of what quality is.
For example, I discovered that I want to be good at Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ). I want to know how to perform the techniques, I want to know when to apply them, and I want to be able to perform them against an unwilling opponent. I’ve found out what good BJJ feels and looks like and I know what it takes to get better. I can accept compliments because I know that I’ve put the work in.
In contrast, in school and work, I didn’t care about succeeding. I only cared because it’s what YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO DO. And the results were tied to what I knew was quality. I didn’t need to know the material, I just needed to memorize enough to do well on a test. I didn’t need to produce results, I just needed to make my boss look good. Clinging to idealistic standards was a hindrance, not the way.
If you’re not refining and following your taste, don’t be surprised if the compliments you receive do more for your ego than your self-worth.
📝 Writing of the Week:
I’ve been writing unpolished, around 100-word mini-essays. Just reflections on ideas from podcasts or things on the news. Here are the latest:
1️⃣ Antonio starts from Peter Thiel’s mantra that “Competition is for losers.” It’s better to go orthogonally and find a market with no competition. He combines this idea with his experience of school as a sorting mechanism, that the purpose of school is to create a ranking for students. If both of these are true, perhaps we should explore alternatives to schooling.
“The reality is that without schooling, the losers–each of whom is a human being who wants to lead a meaningful life–would not be labeled as losers. The competition of schooling takes brilliant people with unlimited potential and declares that they are inadequate, curtailing future opportunities, and leading too many of them to conclude that perhaps they really are losers.” - Antonio
2️⃣ I usually use this space to give a hint about the value you can get by clicking the link. But I’m not sure I can give this story justice and I don’t want to ruin any part of the story. Just pretend you just read the most convincing reason to click on a link and click on this link. And then go and spend a few hours reading every one of’s newsletters at .
3️⃣reflects on twenty years in martial arts. It’s a beautiful analogy for life, for approaching uncertainty.
“Learning the ways of destruction has shown me my path to peace. By learning how to destroy and disable, I came to know a dangerous potential that I hope to never have to utilize.”
This tweet fromreminds me of how easy it is to subsume your identity to pursue abstract goals.
💬 Quote of the Week:
“Never let schooling interfere with education.” - Grant Allen
You can find more of my writing at chr.iswong.com.
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Leaving you in peace,