Welcome to another weekly roundup, filled with three resource gems from the internet, two ideas from me, and one mini essay to pass on!
Apologies for the lapse in the weekly roundup for the past few weeks, was on vacation ☀️
3 Gems of the Week
- Social Inequalities Explained in a $100 Race (4 mins)
If you haven’t seen this clip yet, I implore you to watch this. Or even if you have, I implore you to rewatch it. When you do, I’d like you to observe two heart-wrenching things:
1) The final gap in distance between the back of the starting line and the front, along with the specific demographic of those at the start of the line.
2) The look in their eyes from people in the back when they start to realize the moral behind the exercise, as they slowly get left behind.
Even watching this years later, it still elicits a physical response when I observe number two.
As a first generation immigrant, I grew up with an up-close look at the other side of privilege. My parents came from one of the poorest provinces in China. Watching this video, I envision my parents participating in this race, out in the rice fields, and count the number of steps they might have taken.
They wouldn’t have taken many.
That look is what brings me to recall, many years later, the many steps I can take forward because of my parent’s hard work, and the painfully real simulation of what privilege does for you.
Because of this, I save this as a reminder that I have no excuse not to work hard and help others with less opportunities to move forward.
And more importantly, on days when I am frustrated at the world and how far away my own $100 reward is, to remember to look back at all the steps forward I’ve been able to take, because of the sacrifices my parents and ancestors have granted me.
- Making decisions (1 min)
The internet is already overflowing with the amount of respect for the President of Ukraine. Just adding one more drop to the bucket.
- The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (8 mins)
“It’s a dictionary of made-up words for emotions that we all feel but don’t have the words to express, filled with new definitions, illustrations, etymologies and essays that seek to capture the forgotten corners of the human condition.”
Through the course of 12 years, what started as a Tumblr project has transformed into a book. A mixture of made up words and words inspired from other languages, it was through this website that I discovered words like sonder, and wondering about the vivid and complex lives other people lead.
2 Thoughts of the Week
- On a personal brand.
Thanks to technology opening the gates and bringing the rise of the solo creator, there is so much emphasis on building a personal brand.
This can sometimes feel like performance art. Debuting a certain image of ourselves online for others to see. To behave in a certain manner that “aligns with our brand.
“What if sometimes we just “be,” and focus less on the constant performance art of being a brand?
- Time travel is real.
Whenever I hear someone resurfacing their old notes or ideas, I get a mini jolt of happiness.
The same applies for me when I find old thoughts or ideas, and can feel my body react with the same excitement as when I first discovered that insight.
Because in these cases, it means we’ve successfully time traveled: leaving bread crumbs by our past self to re-discover for our future self.
In the age of information overload, we consume information consistently. There’s just so much out there. But that information will never compound into knowledge if we do not take notes and build upon what intrigues us, what captivates us.
These notes transmute into knowledge that compounds over time.
1 Mini Essay
Every Lunar New Year, my husband and I do an annual Marie Kondo / new year’s cleaning as part of our cultural tradition.
It’s become a joyful ritual, seeing which items spark joy and showing thanks to the multitude of inanimate objects that help improve our day to day lives. Without them, we find significantly more inconvenience and possibly a lesser sense of well-being.
It doesn’t hurt that, in accordance to Chinese tradition, new year’s cleaning is a way to purge bad luck and welcome new fortune 🙂
Giving thanks is one part of the process, then there is thanking and discarding the things that have fulfilled their purpose, or are no longer wanted.
This year’s Marie Kondo episode sparked (pun intended) a powerful lesson for me.
Several years ago, in a similar Marie Kondo exercise, my parents had gifted my husband a YSL cologne for Christmas. After much consideration, I remember he ended up discard it because it didn’t match his taste or style.
And so it was relegated to the re-gifting box, an item too fancy to throw away or donate, to be saved for someone that would enjoy it.
Imagine my surprise when this year as we were cleaning through our re-gifting box, that he took out the YSL perfume and stashed it away in our bathroom mirror.
“Seriously? I’m pretty sure I remember how you said you never wear perfume and would never use something like that.” — I said, incredulous at his changing tastes.
He shrugged. “Guess I changed?”
There’s that often told cliche of “try everything at least once.”
But what if just once was not enough?
It’s hard to realize how much we are going to change in ten years — let alone a year’s time.
In “The Psychology of Your Future Self,” Dan Gilbert shares the “End of History illusion,” the idea that we vastly underestimate how much we are likely to change over time.
“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”Dan Gilbert
Many things we used to value, we now throw in the discard pile.
Things that we might not have appreciated then, are seen with newfound appreciation.
It’s a fascinating thing, isn’t it? That we can never expect to like the same things, connect with the same people, share the same values.
And so in this way, it’s important to remember:
“The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting, and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been.
But one constant in our life is change.”