“Not long ago, at my brother’s suggestion, I watched a video on YouTube called Iterative Drawing, by a guy called Sycra Yasin, describing a beautiful learning method. I realized the method can be applied to learning anything, not just drawing – and so the idea of iterative learning was born.”
“What’s the essence of the method?”
“If you want to improve at anything, repetition is key. The metaphor Sycra uses is mileage.
To improve, you need to get a lot of rep(etition)s in. (Quantity) There’s no way around it.
To improve faster, you need to maximize the learning from each rep. (Quality) In other words, it requires deliberate practice.
One actionable insight from the book is that direct questions are an opportunity to practice humor.
Direct questions, like, “Where are you going?” or “What are you doing?” are perfect opportunities for experimenting with unanticipated humorous responses. The question-asker is likely expecting a literal answer, so a lighthearted and funny response could result in easy humor simply because it’s unexpected.
This is an opportunity to practice iterative learning.
I write a question at the top of a page, and I start generating possible answers (thus practicing creativity at the same time). The focus is on quantity, not quality. Whenever I stumble upon a funny response, I give it a rating (1 – mildly funny, 2 – funny, 3 – very funny), and reflect on what makes it funny.
What are you doing?
– breathing autumn. (1) – breathtaking. – digging for treasure. (2) – growing hair. (3) – hiking around the sun. (3) – knitting. (1) – living danjerously. (2) – playing at adulting. (3) – pacticing average. (1) – practicing awkwardness. – questing. (1) – ruminating ruminations. (1) …
The goal is to do as many as possible. Dozens. This is an open process [<link; short read]. Whenever I come up with another idea, I add it to the page.”
“You may have learned that it takes at least 40 days to form a new habit.”
“From the book Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg I learned a very important principle:
Emotions create habits.
Habits can form very quickly, as long as you have a strong positive emotion connected to the behavior. This means celebration is one of the most important aspects of habit creation.
BJ has a beautiful word for that positive feeling we get from experiencing success: Shine.
There are two key aspects to celebration: – Immediacy. Celebrating during the habit or immediately after. – Intensity. The more intense the feeling, the more impactful it is.
There are many ways you can celebrate. They can involve physical movements (eg deep breathing, smiling, a little dance, raising your fists in victory, etc), verbal statements (eg ‘Yes!’, ‘That’s like me!’, etc), bringing to mind things real or imagined, one or more senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic), or any combination of these.
He stresses the importance of experimenting and finding/creating celebrations that feel natural to you, and suggests cultivating a bunch of them, for various contexts (private and public).
For instance, one of my go-to celebrations involves Brian Johnson, one of the people I look up to most. Every day he posts a little video in which he shares reflections and ideas with the world on how to optimize your life and live at your highest potential. He calls these little videos ‘+1s’ (plus ones).
He often ends these videos by saying ‘plus one’ and making a specific gesture with the fingers from one hand. Picturing him doing this always makes me smile. So I recently thought to myself: what if I used this as a celebration? I imagine him saying it, I say it along with him, and sometimes make the same gesture with the fingers. It works.”
“What are you experimenting with at the moment?”
I started studying humor because I think it’s a beautiful life skill. At one point I thought: what if I used humor for celebration?
For instance, sometimes when I get a very small win I imagine a huge amphitheater of people cheering for my accomplishment. The contrast between the smallness of the accomplishment and the bigness of the imagined celebration has a humorous effect.”
Fragments from imaginary dialogues “If you were to pick your favorite imaginary dialogues, what would they be?” “The following, in no particular order [they are all links]: Collective Creativity [<short read]Collector [<very short read]On Magic and Models [<medium read]On Writing: The Blank Page [<medium read]The Beautiful Game 2 [<medium read]The Joy of Writing [<very short […]