My top 10 imaginary dialogues

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“If you were to pick 10 of your favorite imaginary dialogues, what would they be?”

“The following [they are all links]:

Collective Creativity [<short read]
Collector [<short read]
Concept-Stacking [<short read]
How do you know you understand what you think you understand? [medium read]
Identity Design [<medium read]
On Magic and Models [<medium read]
On Magic and Models 2 [<medium read]
On Writing: The Blank Page [<medium read]
The Beautiful Game 2 [<medium read]
The Joy of Writing [<short read]


The Epitaph Exercise

This is a powerful exercise to gain clarity on your life purpose.

What do you want to have written on your tombstone?

Express it as identities.

Example (my epitaph):

Here lies Dani, the Ever-Playful.
(The name of my Superhero identity, me at my absolute best)

(How I choose to see and engage with life)

Master Learner/Teacher
(What I want to playfully master over a lifetime)

Use your epitaph as a guiding star throughout your life and as a mantra to recover balance.

The Ultimate Output of Learning

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

What is the ultimate output of learning?

I’ve distilled it to three things:

UnderstandingAcquiring knowledge. Endlessly refining your model of reality.

ImplementationLiving knowledge. You thus turn it into Wisdom.

Wisdom is all about application. (Darius Foroux)

TeachingSharing knowledge. Giving back to the world.

The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more. (Charlie Munger)

Teaching is also a beautiful way to test and refine your understanding.

Playing Magic (the Gathering) while not playing Magic

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

I love Magic the Gathering. It’s been part of my life for 20 years now.

If so, how come you no longer play it?

I don’t… and I do.

I’ve deconstructed the game and identified what I love about it. I’ve distilled it to two principles: modularity and synergy.

Modularity: Magic is a modular game like Lego, made up of numerous interlocking pieces.

Synergy: Some pieces when combined are more powerful than the individual pieces (an instance of emergence); in Magic’s terminology, this is called a “combo”. The joy of the game for me is discovering hidden synergies.

In identifying the principles, I have transcended the game. 

Language, for instance, is a modular structure, like Magic. Just like playing Magic, I love playing with language to discover hidden synergies.

I’m now playing Magic while not playing Magic.”

Top of Mind as Resource 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

The things on top of your mind prime you to notice patterns related to them. When what’s on top of your mind is a skill, it allows you to optimally practice it.

The space on top of your mind is limited. Think of it as a precious resource.

What is the most powerful thing you can have on top of your mind?

The most powerful life skill.

I’ve identified it as what Brian Johnson calls antifragile confidence – the intense, unwavering trust that you have the capacity to deal with ANYTHING life throws at you.

How does one practice that?

“By practicing Improvisation. The essence of improvisation is spontaneity and adaptability – the capacity to create and deal with obstacles in the moment. This is the foundation of antifragile confidence.

On Practicing Gratitude

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

At the end of the day, express gratitude for three things.

Why only at the end of the day?
And why three?

To me, telling someone to express gratitude only once a day sounds like telling someone to brush only one tooth. The goal is to express gratitude as much as possible throughout the day. You can practice gratitude anywhere, at any time.

Like… now.

To me, three here sounds like an arbitrary number – aesthetic, but meaningless. The goal is to experience the feeling of gratitude. Express gratitude for as many things as necessary until you feel grateful. Everything beyond that can have an amplifying, ’emotional flooding’ effect.

Perpetual Motion Machine 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I want to never be sedentary for longer than 15-20 minutes. So I take a little movement break every 15-20 minutes.”

“Why the interval?”

“15 is the floor, 20 is the ceiling. So it’s a 5-minute buffer.”

“Does taking breaks so often not take you out of Flow?”

“A sub-skill of Flow is getting into the state as quickly as possible.

It also depends on the activity. Creative Flow – my favorite kind – is both the on and the off. It’s an oscillation. The magic happens during the off, not the on.”

On understanding

Each of us lives in a micro reality.

Reality is too complex for us to grasp. We’re like ants trying to understand the vast realm that is their little corner of the backyard.

So we simplify reality, put it into little linguistic boxes, and proudly declare it known.

But our understanding is like the crude drawings of a child. Two people arguing about the world are like two children bickering over whose drawing is bestest.

My Central Focus

To teach any subject is to participate in part in teaching the art of being human. A great teacher whether it is of chemistry, English, Parkour or martial arts is a teacher who calls forth a more profound understanding of that central art. (Rafe Kelley)

I’m a polymath. I have so many interests. The problem is, I’m pulled in too many directions. I’ve been journaling a lot to gain clarity on what the best central focus is.

Finally, it struck me: language.

I’m fascinated by the magical technology we call ‘language’. We’re immersed in it. It’s for us like water to the fish, invisible, yet it shapes our thoughts and feelings and traces the boundaries of our (inter)subjective reality.

I’m currently studying to become an English teacher. It allows me to practice teaching and delve more deeply into the mechanics of language. At the same time, I’ll be exploring ways of learning (and teaching) all language-related skills – and playing with ways of learning multiple at the same time.

The ultimate goal is to create practical handbooks for all the skills I’m interested in and to integrate them into a single master practice which I call The Beautiful Practice.

Life-Artist 5

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

What is life-art?

Think of listening to a song you love. The first few times, it’s breathtaking. Then it gradually fades until it disappears. I call this, one of the small tragedies of life.

As a child, the entire world is breathtaking. Then it gradually fades until it disappears. This is the compounded effect of a myriad small tragedies.

The purpose of art is to make the invisible visible again.

I call those precious moments when you can see the breathtaking beauty of the world, moments of grace.

I call life-art (among other things) the practice of consistently creating moments of grace.

The Hourly Reset

Pentru un azi care maine va fi un ieri indepartat. (Erika Erdos)

Translation (from Romanian): For a today that tomorrow will be a yesterday far gone.

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Every day, the day before feels like a long time ago. I call this, The Daily Reset.

What if you also had an Hourly Reset?

At the beginning of every hour, let go of the past hour, regardless of how it went, prepare for the hour ahead, and recommit to being your best self.“