3 min read

Breakfast Notes #62 (Hail The New Year Resolution)

Breakfast Notes #62 (Hail The New Year Resolution)
Photo by Planet Volumes / Unsplash

Happy new year to you, friends!

Here is the 62nd serving of the Breakfast Notes.

3 Reads To Bulk Your Brain

There is a ton of hype surrounding the products of OpenAI. In early 2022, it was Dall-E.

Now, it’s ChatGPT.

I thought it would be dope to share three blog posts that Sam Altman, OpenAI’s current CEO wrote that would inspire you.

  • Researchers and Founders. As a technology entrepreneur who has worked closely with both founders and researchers, he realised a key similarity between these two groups of highly effective people is that they both spend a lot of time reflecting on some version of the Hamming question—"what are the most important problems in your field, and why aren’t you working on them?”
  • How to Generate Ideas. You might think it’s about having smarts or a creative mind. Altman highlights that the best ideas are fragile. Expose it to shock too early; they break before they have a chance to blossom.  The key is to place yourself in an idea-conducive environment. The people around you must have a ‘good feel for the future, will entertain improbable plans, are optimistic, are smart in a creative way, and have a very high idea flux.’
  • How To Be Successful.  If you have no time for any other reads today, read this. In 13 bullet points, Altman teaches you how to achieve outlier success. Here is one lesson on networking that will not make you cringe. No, it’s not about power postures or secret handshakes. He states emphatically, ‘one of the best ways to build a network is to develop a reputation for taking care of the people who work with you. Be overly generous with sharing the upside; it will come back to you 10x.’

2 Visualizations To Wow You

Hive Systems (Reddit) 

Now you know why 'Password!' as passwords won't cut it.

The Terminator Poster 

We are now six years away from the creation of THE TERMINATOR.

1 Big Idea: Hail The New Year Resolution

‘New Year, Same Shit’

That’s the cynical refrain I have heard recently.

But why?

Here are some reasons I can think about off the top of my head.

  • ‘Don’t wait till 1 Jan to fix yourself.’ Nothing magical happens on 1 Jan. If you have a problem you can fix now, do it now! Don’t wait!
  • ‘You are doomed to fail.’ You probably are shooting too high. You will go hard, burn out and give up. By 31 Dec, nothing much would have changed. You are just waiting for Godot.
  • ‘It’s hard.’ Life is already hard. Don’t bother with these new year’s resolutions. Why not just compromise and make do?

Now, imagine this.

Picture a person in your life who has been addicted to smoking for God knows how long. He comes up to you and says this sincerely, ‘My new year resolution for 2023 is that I want to quit smoking!’

Would you spell out those reasons I just did?

Heck no.

Why?

We intuitively know that resolutions are declarations to ourselves and the world that something matters to us.

We want to exercise, eat healthily, and stop smoking because we have internalised its importance. We may stumble, regress or even fail in the coming months, but the resolution reminds us of our ideals. Even if we fail, we ought to try again.

In the same light, would you want him to stop even if your friend failed at weaning off cigarettes?

I like to think about it this way. A resolution is simply a re-solution.

A repeated attempt at a solution.

No rule in life says we cannot re-solve the same problem. In the game of life, we are allowed to try, fail and try again.

As long as we continually seek improvement, we inch towards a better version of ourselves.

(P.S.: Research shows that new year’s resolutions work but not in the way you imagine.)

May the Sun Shine Upon Your Face,

Keith