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Learning Thoughts

Communication is hard

Recently watched something from CGP Grey on YouTube again that really clicked in my head and just wanted to note it down on my blog in case I forget about it.

From 1:42 to 2:28

If there is anything I’ve learned from thousands of spoken words, it’s that human communication is hard. Way harder than people think. Precisely because people think it’s easy. You just say the words and the other person hear them and bam! Understanding! Alas, no. Words are fuzzy things and you don’t realize how poorly you string them together until you are forced to listen to yourself saying those words. And even if you’re happy with your string of words, you just don’t know how those fuzzy patterns of sound will pattern match in someone else’s brain. Human communication is a dance, and a dance requires partners. We all create content and I think we should all keep that in mind and be much more willing to work with the intended intention of our interlocutors.

CGP Grey

This really clicked in my head because there are so many occasions where I felt that I wasn’t communicating the thoughts in my head across effectively and I search high and low for the right combination of words that I hope would make sense to the others, often following up with “did that make sense to you?”.

But this also made me realize the many other occasions where I thought that I had explained something that seemed obvious to me and simply assumed that the other party understood exactly what I meant.

It also made me aware that many disagreements where the other party said something I found offensive and they said, “that’s not what I meant!”, and I retorted with, “but that’s what you said”; is a counterproductive response which doesn’t help the situation. Being aware of this made me think that I should’ve held my feelings and judgment at the moment and clarify with, “well, what do you mean then?”, and give the benefit of the doubt that the other party simply chose the wrong string of words to express their intention. Alas, it’s not that simple all the time because humans are complicated and will often obfuscate their intentions for various reasons; but simply being aware of this will at least help me navigate the murky waters of communication.

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Thoughts

FFT: Worried that I’m getting jaded

Food for thought used to be a series in my old blogs for something that I just dump my random musings, I’m reviving it now because I’m in a new phase of life.

Up until recently, I felt that people are jaded/spoilt when they spend “unnecessarily” on things they want instead of things they need, or getting the more premium option when the normal option would’ve worked fine.

But after reviewing my spending trends across the past year, I feel like I’m starting to become that kind of person. For example, taking a cab used to be: “I’ll take a cab only if I’m really tired or it’s really just way too troublesome to get there”. Nowadays it’s more like: “I’ll take the public transport only if I’m feel energetic and I feel like it”.

Analysis

I’m attributing this change to having a job, and not having many obligations (yet). “Adult money” as me and my partner would like to call it, is dangerous to us. Given the means, there is an increasing number of things where it does not makes sense to spend the extra/time and effort when money can solve it.

When I think about money as a function of my life energy that I’m exchanging for, I want to spend the remaining life energy (and time), on the things that I truly care about. When I’m meeting friends, the part that matters is meeting the people, not the travelling to the destination. If I can find a tool that gives me a better working experience, it’s worth the extra because it reduces the friction of doing “something”, which has a multiplicative effect on the consumption of life energy.

function of life energy: spending X amount of life to get Y money.

I feel that the relationship between income and the amount someone is willing to spend on conveniences is approximately proportional. The (rough) graph drawn below shows the relationship, and I feel like I’m breaching into the conveniences territory which prompted this FFT post.

income vs amount spent on convenience graph

This also reminded me of The Last Bit in the Container post I’ve read may years ago. TLDR; squeeze your toothpaste if it only takes a few seconds, else it’s not worth it.

Light bulb moment

Have I been misunderstanding those people who have been spending for convenience and quality of life? Is this because that I have not reached the same phase of life as them?

Who/what else have I been misunderstanding?

Moments like this really make me hit the pause button and think really hard about my life.

An interesting conversation I had sometime ago was an advice to “be kind to the older folks in IT” even though sometimes their ideas/suggestion may seem very outdated. It’s because their reality has been shaped by the experience of working with the older systems and they have learnt many lessons the hard way; instead of dismissing it as “irrelevant in current context”, it could just be an old solution to a still plausible problem (that we may have missed).

I feel like I’m experiencing the “You’ll understand when you’re a parent yourself” moment before becoming a parent.

Getting back on track, I don’t think I would change my spending drastically even with this realization because I’m still able to justify for them. What I would do instead, is question myself: “would this money be better spent invested in something?”.

(Ending off this post as I sip coffee on my new $20 thermos mug)