7 January, 2013

Learning Log #1 — Week of 1/1

1. The Key to Being Good at a lot of Things is to be Humble

I realized this on New Years. I was reading Robert Greene’s book called “Mastery” and one of the kinds of people he cautions against are envious people. Then I thought about that thought for a bit. Then I realized I was an envious person. I tend to see my world in the form of have-not and tend to look upon higher beings with envy. I don’t think it’s healthy.

Every time someone is better than me at something, say math (from when I was back in 8th grade), I would actual make mental calculations of self-worth, and in order to protect my ego, I was weigh his have-nots as personal advantages. I would tell myself “even though he is better at math, I’m better at soccer or socializing.” Then I would look down at him while being envious of his seemly innate ability to do computations.

As silly as it seems, I think my envy stems from this anime cartoon I used to watch called Naruto. I really thought Sasuke was the coolest Mo-fo on the planet. And when Sasuke channels his envy and hatred for his brother, Itachi, I most likely linked the two together. Sasuke got insanely strong and powerful by using this envy and hatred to train. Naruto, who saw that Sasuke was getting a lot better, became jealous too and started training super hard.

Oh 8th grade times, I remember when I would motivate myself to work out by surfing people’s Facebook photos and getting envious that they are living a happier life than me.

But enough of that. What I’ve come to learn is that people learn a lot more and a lot better from other people. People are more than willing to offer you guidance and there is no reason to go against these offers of help and learn everything by yourself. Reflecting back my semester, all the new things I’ve learned it’s been taught by someone else, whether it’s studying groups with Charles Zhang, Daniel Shan, and Lori Krakirian, singing and guitar with Bryan Munar, or programming from Kristin Stephens and the lovely people at Hackers@Berkeley. I cannot thank them (and countless others I haven’t mentioned) for teaching me, and part of that is why I want to give back to those who want to learn.

Sometimes all it takes to learn is to be able to openly admit that you simply don’t know and ask for help.

2. Your frame is your frame. No one can tell you otherwise

Note: Will elaborate further on this with a guide sometime in my procrastinating future.

I finished reading Frame Games by Michael Hall, which is a short book on Frame Analysis and the concepts of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. In layman’s terms it means that our reality is filtered by the frames of reference we have on life. Frames are layered. On the most primitive level is called the “experience frame.” It is the filter which allows sensory input. So sight, taste, sound, feel, and smell. Layered on top of those frame is called the Frame-of-Reference. This frame is what brings “mental structure” to your experience. You sense adjectives like good/bad, happy/sad, basic emotions. Later on the day or week, when you recall your Frame-of-Reference, you add another frame on top of that, called the Frame of Mind. You can have multiple frames of minds layered on. Each time you retrieve your frame of reference, you bring on a frame of mind. These frames include mood, attitude, dispositions, and evaluations. So when you remember your breakup on a sad day, you introduce a sad frame on top of your frame-of-reference, but when you remember the same event on a happier day, your introduce a happier frame to it, filtering the information you want. Near the top (but not at the very top, there theoretically is no top), you have your Frameworks/Matrix. These are your identity, your values, your philosophies, ideals, wants. Basically it’s what makes you, you.

So in summary frame games is like starting out with a thought, then thinking about a thought-of-a-thought, then a thought-of-a-thought-of-a-thought, and so on so forth.

I really like this analysis of social interactions because everyone has their own frames, and you are in full control of your own. In my upcoming rejection therapy, I can bring a frame game that gives me more confidence in interact with strangers. The reference frame of feeling shy and embarrassed will still be there, but since I’ve embodied my higher level frames, even my framework of wanting to be a more social person, I can see my social interaction as a way of bettering myself instead of a form of social suicide. Because no matter how the other person may view me, I control the frames, and therefore I control the games. I just thought frames games is something everyone could benefit from.

3. Attractive Girls are not Necessary Bitches

Give them a chance. I’m writing a longer post on it on it :)

4. Just Because You Go to a Better School Doesn’t Make You the Better Person

It was one of those imaginary arguments I was having with people down the street in Palo Alto because I was wearing a Berkeley sweatshirt in Stanford territory. You are not defined by your school, you define your school itself.

5. We Like New Songs Because We Like Learning

I think. It seems whenever I get sick of a song, it’s because boring. I already know the song front-to-back, such that I could play it in my head like an iPod. Then the song gets short-circuited. When I mean short circuited, it means that whenever I hear the song, I could understand the structure, lyrics, and music in my head without ever listening to the rest of the song. The playback speed in my head is much faster than that of the radio or iPod.

Now when we like new songs, it seems to be because the more often we listen to it, the more we learn about the song, and its melodies. The song is new in content, but similar in style, just like learning stuff you’re already familiar with is fun and easy whereas learning stuff that you’re not familiar with is hard and unpleasant.

Fun fact: When Hey Ya! was about to be released to the public, executive producers thought it was going to be a big hit. But when they launched, they found out that people didn’t like the song. Why? Because the style of the song belonged to a whole new genre that’s completely different than the current music scene at that time. So what did they do to popularize it? They sandwiched it. They would play a popular hit, then Hey Ya!, then another popular hit. Slowly, but surely, people started becoming familiar with Hey Ya and started catching on, and the record sales for the song skyrocketed.

So in order words, people learned the song. Have you ever heard an unfamiliar song, didn’t like it, but sooner or later after the radio bombarded it several times, it becomes stuck in your head? I think that has to do with the stickiness effect, of how well the target audience is able to retain such an information. And since this new information (or song) is fresh, we take pleasure in the novelty of it. We’re learning the song, but we have not gone to the point of habitualizing it.

That’s where I see the correlation between liking a song and the learning process.

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