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milk vs. peanuts - my theory on expiration dates
Zayn's Digest - October Edition
most people are like the milk - easily expirable. vulnerable in most conditions.
we all aspire to be the peanuts. enjoy a long shelf life; be dependable regardless of the use case.
for the past few weeks I’ve felt like the milk.
this comparison between the milk vs. peanut butter is an analogy for our own proneness to intellectual expiration. throughout the past few weeks I’ve been asked to provide advice, have had conversations with some of the most interesting people. but, everything I’m saying seems trite. It’s too obvious.
and, when insight becomes obvious, I’ve expired.
as someone working toward olympic-level thinking, my goal is to be the peanuts. I want to have a long shelf life, a far expiration date, and remain “fresh.”
the pre-requisite to be the peanuts is to increase my baseline. if my baseline stays at the same level for too long, I become complacent. I fail to process feedback and sabotage progress. the number of risks I want to take starts to decrease. I become more obsessed with reputation and focus more of my attention on the public perception of my actions vs. obsessing over growth, net beneficial discomfort, doing hard things.
baselines are interesting because you only realize your baseline is low when you upgrade your environment. environment includes friends, content, city. I’ve found the most effective way to increase my baseline is to activate new relationships.
the result of being in a group for too long is, your weaknesses don’t get exploited. when you upgrade, you realize how much knowledge is to be gained and you hustle towards a new baseline. we all want to get better with each new project we build, each newsletter we write, each conversation we have. the main action item is to find new people that are a few levels ahead of you and observe their behavior, how they act - both their micro and macro decisions. how are they spending their day? what are they studying? what’s their style of communication?
after you’ve observed, spend some time thinking about your knowledge gaps. what has this new group exploited about you previously didn’t know? what areas are you weaker in than you thought? I think we do a great job of evading what we aren’t good at and using not my strength as a euphemism to not engage in something new or hard. what’s beautiful about the real-world is those reasons aren’t sustainable the more you expose yourself to hard things and people that do hard things. you eradicate any need to give excuses for blindspots because you accept them and self-learn your way out.
those blindspots only become evident with new groups of people, new content/ideas you’re exposing yourself too. hopefully they’re challenging the way you think, provoking new ideas, and training your bias towards hard things.
you should find that as you increase your baseline, you’ll get agitated quickly, engage in more negative self-talk. this is good. your mind is being challenged. it’s collapsing on you. and, you decide.
you have a choice between being the milk and expiring quickly or becoming the peanut, doubling down and pushing away your expiration date.
the goal is to be the peanut. the goal is to make visible/invisible gains on your life everyday. but, you decide whether or not you alter your baseline and by how much. growth is the ultimate goal, results are a pleasant byproduct.
tl;dr on this month
- Built Foundations - an SMS platform to teach 3rd graders in Bodinga, Nigeria basic literacy skills.
- Researched how to use functional ultrasound neuroimaging to objectively quantify chronic pain in cancer patients.
Memo | Deck | Retrospective | Website
- Recommended NLP features to Quizlet to increase student efficiency, retention.
growth in public - favorite moment
background: I’ve been using twitter as a method to make my ideas more tangible and scalable - allowing me to reach more people with my thoughts.
spent some time earlier this month reflecting on what hard things yield and how to decouple ourselves from the obvious form of thinking.
I’m still in experimentation mode with the format. You all seemed to like the newsletter last month based on data/open rates but wanted to sandbox with essay style as this was an interesting thought for me this month. This newsletter hit the 1-year anniversary this month, last year. We’ve grown from 2 → 375 newsletter subscribers. I’ve improved my writing since I released in October + you all have and continue to provide me a sandbox where I can experiment with my writing, spread thoughts at scale, and continue moving towards high standards insight as a habit.
I enjoy writing these monthly updates/thoughts for you and am excited to continue iterating for the next 80+ years as I write this newsletter for you. The emails, feedback, conversations make this more fun each month. Thank you for helping me reach my new baseline.
what’s up, thanks for reading the newsletter! Send me an email with some thoughts, an update on what you’re working on, or just to say hi!