Day 101 - Black Cygnets and Wabi Sabi

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
Smog Level: 3/3 Mountains

Somehow I messed up.

How? Apparently by writing every single day - except for this one. Here are the notes I left for myself:
  • Mildly Sore, but don’t want to take a day off
  • Friend offered a UW contact in Japan
  • Wabi Sabi

A challenge! Here is what I was able to write, a week after the fact:

This week's drawing exercise: Draw a male,
and a female face. Funny how the one with a
guide image came out worse than the one I eyeballed.
Soaring Sore

I woke up and was feeling like keeping this gym routine going. My goal is to do at least 5 days a week, and normally with the way I cycle it, the closest I’ll work out the same muscle group again is after two days of rest. Well, today I’m too sore to work anything but chest, which is still a little sore. Screw it. Let’s just drop the weight and do lower reps, yeah? Yeah.

The Mighty Black Swan

A concept I’ve mentioned a few times - and will continue to mention - is the Black Swan, as defined by Nassim Taleb. With every additional White Swan you see, you will be more and more certain that all swans are white - that there are no black swans. This makes you all the more certain - erroneously - and will one day have to deal with what you are certain was impossible. Events that are unpredictable and utterly change the game in a big way - those are black swans. The internet, the printing press, the automobile, etc. Unforeseeable, and monolithic.

I like to apply this on a personal level. This blog, for instance, is one potential "black swan generator." It increases my chances - my luck - that something good will come my way. Even if something doesn't come to me, by working hard, my skills will develop, my audience will get bigger, and hopefully I’ll be able to help more people as I do so. In that way, the blog could spawn random circumstances that I can’t predict, but could change my life dramatically.* One small example was writing that post for the online magazine, and today another happened.

Office Artwork by Cat, the Carden Teacher
Black Cygnets

Since they’re small, but still beneficial, I refer to them as Black Cygnets (cygnets are the term for a baby swan). Today one of my readers, a friend of a friend in university, reached out because she knew someone in Japan, and I had mentioned going there for vacation this summer. Well, that’s pretty cool! (Shout out to Ariana. Sup, homes?)

I ended up talking to the guy and he seems to be of like mind, goal, and ambition. They say “like attracts like” and it seems to be true. Glad I worked to make myself better.

Wabi Sabi

I also watched this video on Wabi Sabi, a Japanese idea on aesthetics. The west's perspective is about symmetry, and aiming perfection. Wabi Sabi seems to be about accepting life as it occurs - imperfections and all. It’s certainly much more complicated than that - both Yuzuko and Shimou told me so. But from my shallow understanding of the concept, it seems I’ve been somewhat prescribing to that idea, slowly more with the years. Nothing stays perfect for long - if it ever was - and that’s alright. 

My watch, one of my most prized possessions, has some chips around the outside of the glass from all the wear and tear, traveling around the world with me. My shoes are crumbling, and scuffed. I’m really not the most impressive sight, but I’m generally ok with that. Who wants to rob someone who is wearing somewhat shabby attire? Who will be rude treat someone in shabby attire? This is as much my way of weeding them out as they are doing the same to me. Works for me. You shouldn’t want to impress someone who is only impressed by what you’re wearing.

There. Fillin' out that Three-point post.

*Yes, I'm also painfully aware that it could all be for "nothing." Though, that idea is mislabelled. No matter what you do, if you work hard at it, you will advance in ways you wouldn't have guessed. You'll make mental and social connections through your efforts and they will open random doors that otherwise would have passed you by.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]


Editing Music
不難 (Not Difficult)

(The song is about how, when you realize that someone is not making effort on your, or that they've stopped caring about you, it should be easy to say goodbye. You should let them go, and not be sad about it. This is Shimou's explanation)

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