Discover more from Adam Ming
On observation, picking your moves and the meaning of life.
How to use your addictions positively, pick your moves, and correct your faulty interpretations
I prepare all week to write this newsletter, by reading at least 30 minutes a day. Reading sometimes means listening to audiobooks or even watching videos on youtube. Then on Thursdays, I get to sit down and review my note cards, picking three to share with you. This week I ‘read’ that the meaning of life is everywhere around you, it’s just distributed in books, art, and music, I thought that was particularly beautiful. I hope this collection of notes will help you observe, appreciate and engage with that meaning a little better. Let’s go!
Erick Barker is a popular blogger, sometimes he might consume three books just to write a single blog post. To make time for reading and writing Erick has a particular rule. “3 Checks a day”, refers to the number of times he allows himself to check his phone, email, and socials a day.Otherwise, he redirects his urge to the Kindle app and reads a book instead. There are actually two useful nuggets that we can use from here:
We can limit ourselves not by minutes, but rather by this idea of times. You can check everything at one of these times, but you only get three checks.
You can redirect your less-desirable urges, to higher versions of the same activity. In this case, reading.
Do you have rules to direct you to your higher purposes?
My friend, Jobe who’s the COO of a cryptocurrency exchange, beekeeper, and just one of the most interesting people I know, once suggested that it’s good to have a hobby. I think the idea there was for renewal.
I’ve started playing chess.
This hobby has led me this week to the discovery of this concept of candidate moves. The idea is not to play the first move you see, but rather present a number of options to yourself and then pick the best one. Sometimes the first move we see is a trap or a mistake.
The idea is applicable outside the game.
One move might be to check your phone, another might be to read a book or connect with the people around you. Give yourself some candidate moves then pick intentionally.
Do you have a hobby, one that you don’t want to turn into a profession?
Observation is required to make good moves. You need the ability to see the situations separate from the interpretations. My journey to becoming a picturebook illustrator has been a journey of abandoning my interpretations and focusing and reacting to the situations I observed. For example, I used to think that I don’t need a portfolio to get work and I had very strong views on that for 20 years. But observing a typical process of illustrators getting hired involves having a good portfolio was a starting point in a very rapid journey to now be working with the best publishers in the world.
Do you have faulty interpretations that might be holding you back?
The exception to the rule is if he’s expecting an important email.
When I say ‘playing chess’, I actually mean studying and training. My goal is something like reaching a high level when I’m 80. And it’s as much about applying myself to this process of learning and improving as it is about the game. The game is a means of learning, rather than learning a means of playing the game. The process requires a subject.