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Greatness without goals🎙- Are you a 'worldbuilder'?🌎- Being gracefully unsuccessful🥴- Building discipline🥋- Guy Roux a soccer icon in France🇫🇷
"I don't want to act as though failure isn't painful (or consequential), but the only person who has never failed is a person who has never tried." Nora McInerny
Episode #80. Hey Sunday reader 👋🏼
This Sunday, The Timestamp is here again to help you! Get your weekly dose of summaries from the articles, books, or podcasts you may have missed in tech & culture.
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Last week's episode #79 was a blast in readership thanks to a couple of retweets on Twitter from the authors of the articles/podcasts I mentioned here. You guys just broke the 2022 record of visits to The Timestamp 🏆. I will try to do even better this week with an episode about uncertainty and serendipity.
#1. Greatness without goals 🎙
Big up for Patrick Kervern who scores double by sharing for the second week in a row his takeaways from listening to this podcast from the famous series “Invest like the best”👇
Ken Stanley Professor in Computer Science argues that greatness cannot be planned. Within our culture, we recognize that there's a bit of a problem with setting goals and strictly adhering to them with this belief that it's ultimately going to cause you to get what you want.
There is no general controversy about goals and that is a serious problem because it is severely flawed. There are alternatives, which is why serendipity does happen. Chance favors the prepared mind.
"Almost no prerequisite to any major invention was invented with that invention in mind."
That is a principle he discovered at his lab while breeding and crowdsourcing images. There, 99% of the discoveries happened by serendipity. When they try to automate objectives with even 30.000 iterations it failed all the time. To be precise, the people who discovered these things who are responsible for the stepping stones that led to the discoveries were not actually trying to discover those things because if they had been, then they wouldn't have chosen the things when they had their selections.
You need to take your eyes off the ball in order to be able to accept the stepping stones that ultimately make finding the ball possible, which is totally contrary to our culture, our way of making discoveries, and the way we think things should be done, which is always objectively driven.
The fundamental insight is not being recognized across society. It's that the things that lead to the things you want don't look like the things that you want. So How should we conduct ourselves given this critique of how we generally conduct ourselves? Don’t just act randomly. That's not a good strategy, obviously. It's not an alternative strategy at all. It's just as dumb as the original strategy. You have to understand that a successful inventor, somebody who gets to places that we haven't gotten before, is somebody who's open-minded and willing to keep a repertoire of stepping stones around without knowing which one is going to be the payoff… it's the stepping stones themselves that lend the power to the system and the stepping stones are there because they're interesting. They're not random. That is the true structure of the world. That's the structure of search spaces is that when you find something interesting, it has potential.
Two pieces of advice :
Collect stepping stones and honor interestingness.
Recognize stepping stones when they snap into view for the first time.
But one last thing. The whole idea of our interestingness, repertoire, and stepping stones, it's all about risk. So you have to take risks in order to have amazing ends.
#2. Are you a ‘worldbuilder’? 🌎
Patrick Kervern is way more than a takeaway producer. He is also the author of Umanz, a weekly newsletter mixing tech x philosophy. A true thinker who produced a great article this past week (in French)👇
Imagination is back. Yes! Here are a few takeaways I tried to extract from this piece:
Worldbuilders are those individuals who have the capacity to invent new worlds. This might be right on spot looking at these uncertain times we are living in.
Originally coming from role-playing and sci-fi, ‘worldbuilding’ defines the action of ‘creating a framework, a context, a cultural environment before the actual story can take place’.
Visionary CEOs or legendary creators (like Walt Disney probably incarnating both in one person) can also be seen as worldbuilders.
To become a worldbuilder you will need to master the art of supercuriosity; physics, history, geology, and chemistry, are only some areas where you will need to excel. Mastering so many different fields of expertise is obviously quite rare.
Building companies probably require CEOs to master a very varied array of skills as well. A company can be defined as a system where a cultural framework creates unity in a very unstable environment. “Companies can die of a lack of imagination; but also they die when they fail at creating a strong connection between their team members or with their external environment (clients, investors, market, etc).”
#3. Being gracefully unsuccessful 🥴
Success is always so relative. I found this newsletter episode from “Megan Palmer writes” and I found it inspirational, here are a few takeaways 👇
Megan Palmer puts in writing the neverending quest for success that musicians and writers have; how embarrassing this can be to just fail.
She beautifully shares how a quest for success can put pressure on yourself; just thinking of the clock ticking until you reach victory can make you feel bad and miserable.
Megan also goes into the beauty of writing that ignites with the “hopefulness to express herself on the written page to override the self-doubt train that comes by several times a day”. For her, truth emerges from writing words, and writing daily, gave her ‘a better sense of how to articulate her feelings’. Creating a daily routine with writing sometimes anything; sometimes something more sensible comes out.
She questions what success is in the end; what is ‘making it’?
Fame is a responsibility and it is not always the greatest reward.
Think of the legacy you want to create. ‘Not making it’ can also be just fine as long as you are happy and can live with it.
'Albert Schweitzer (médecin et philosophe alsacien, prix Nobel de la paix en 1952) : "Le succès n'est pas la clé du bonheur. Le bonheur est la clé du succès."
As the French philosopher Albert Schweitzer puts it “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success”.
#4. Building discipline 🥋
Unless you read me for the first time in this new episode of The Timestamp, you know I value very highly compound effort. I found this great thread from ultrarunner @iamsam_williams that covers the secret to building self-discipline 👇
Here is what I enjoyed the most about this Twitter post which is a shortcut to reading Atomic Habits, the best seller from James Clear.
In case you feel you are ambitious but lazy, here are a few tips for you:
Do not try to be disciplined > Start thinking of yourself as being disciplined,
Pick one habit to form and concentrate on it (can be running, playing music, writing, or losing weight) then
Being disciplined with one habit is like knocking over the first domino. The rest will fall.
And do not focus on the outcome > focus on the input.
“The goal is not to lose 20 pounds. The goal is to exercise daily. The goal is not to write a book. The goal is to write 100 words every day.”
“Discipline is doing the work when you least feel like it.”
Don’t quit. You can’t lose if you don’t quit.
#5. Guy Roux, a soccer icon in France 🇫🇷
It has been some time since I wrote about sports. This time, I will share some takeaways from watching this documentary on Amazon Prime. It is about football but not only 👇
Guy Roux built his legend in France transforming a small-size city soccer team, Auxerre in Burgundy, into a national contender for winning the title… and he made it happen.
Impressive dedication to soccer ⚽️ and to discipline. From morning to sunset, his life has always been about football. This led him to coach Auxerre for … 44 consecutive years.
Local money from a chicken tycoon. Guy Roux was lucky to have Gerard Bourgoin, a fearless entrepreneur, invest lots of his fortune into the club. This offered an environment able to ‘manufacture’ success with facilities to recruit and train some young and very promising soccer players among which Jean-Marc Ferreri, Eric Cantona and Laurent Blanc.
The documentary goes way beyond football as it talks about dedication, dream realization, and crazy emotional situations. Former players explain how Guy Roux used to spy on them to make sure they were not partying all night at the disco. So funny, so lively, a life of soccer is just life. And life is great!
I truly recommend watching this documentary. You will travel back in time to a rural side of France. Burgundy has always had good wine; since Guy Roux, they also have a legendary football club. Ask French actor Gerard Depardieu and legendary Alex Ferguson from Manchester United ⚽️.
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