Old-fashioned writing

Here’s why I really like the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro is like the height of technological magic, but I’m able to do the most basic of all things — write with a pencil. Well, it’s not really a pencil. It is, in fact, a stylus. But since Steve Jobs once said that no one would ever use a stylus, they had to call it a pencil.

But here’s the thing—and even research has confirmed this—writing something out the old-fashioned way is better than typing it. It’s not better at making it readable; my handwriting is so bad, I can hardly understand what I wrote five minutes ago. But it is better in how your writing helps you learn.

I’m still reading How to Take Smart Notes and am learning so much. I am learning and also remembering. Maybe remembering is just relearning.

I’m learning, or remembering, or relearning that learning is really hard work. It’s hard because we must make connections to learn.

The book reminds me that teachers need to let students make connections. If we make all the connections for the students, the connections will never be strong enough.

Another great point in the book is that re-reviewing information is a total waste of time. Studying needs to be about one thing—elaboration. In order to learn, you need to understand. In order to understand, you have to be able to explain the information to someone else.

This reminds me of the podcast episode where the professor had students zoom call senior citizens and explain what they learned that semester. This is probably the most brilliant idea ever!

So the main point is that to elaborate, you really need to have the gist of the what you are trying to learn. This is where the slip-box comes in. The slip-box takes care of all the details, the facts and figures. This allows your brain to carry on the big picture connections.

So, this is where my love for the iPad Pro comes in. I am able to take notes on things the old-fashioned way—jotting down notes, using different colors, drawing circles around different points. I am then able to take a screen shot and then paste it right into my Roam Research page. I can then tag the screen-shot with different tags afterwards.

Maskhole: An individual who wears a mask in a way that makes it completely ineffective—e.g., below the nose, under the chin, on the back of the head.


Chamath Palihapitiya

Former VP of user growth at Facebook

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. This is not about Russians’ ads. This is a global problem.”

Relational Minimalism

Minimalism is not a fad; it’s a survival instinct.

The idea of getting rid of things runs counter to our cultural instinct to gather and collect. Our economy is actually built on buying things we don’t need. In order for most companies to exist, they need to sell us stuff that we already have. That’s why we always want the new and improved.

Minimalism’s power comes through admitting that we don’t need so much stuff.

Along with material minimalism, we should consider relational minimalism.

At one point in my Facebook journey, I had nearly 2,000 “friends.” Facebook’s use of the word “friend” is obvious trickery. It would be much more honest for them to call them “quantifiable units of mineable data.” In a sense, having that many friends is relational hoarding. Think of each Facebook friend as an old newspaper taking up space in your small living room. Since you might read that newspaper in the future, it’s best to hold on to it.

In reality, we all have a limited amount of relational bandwidth. The more people in your social circle, the less amount of attention you can give to each of them.

It seems heartless to suggest that people can become someone’s relational clutter, but I think it’s true. I’m not saying people themselves are clutter, but they can be your clutter if you have too many relationships.

Relational minimalism means focusing on the quality of relationships rather than the quantity of relationships.

Thinking About Thinking, Part 1

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about thinking. One of the most interesting concepts I’ve encounted is something called “Naive Realism.” Naive realism explains why you know that you are right and other people are wrong. Someone who is a victim of naive realism believes that he sees things objectively, and anyone who disagrees just needs to see things from a proper perspective. As I think about thinking, naive realism might be at the very core of all thinking problems.

#I am ready for a change. After giving up Facebook, I am searching for a way to post ideas to the world. I don’t really want be manipulated by ads or anything else. I’d rather do the manipulating myself.