#357: An explanation for why we have trouble reading academic journals and jargon-dominating texts

“The problem is that as we become proficient at our job or hobby we come to use these catchwords so often that they flow out of our fingers automatically, and we forget that our readers may not be members of the clubhouse in which we learned them.”

Steven Pinker

What exactly is this problem, and how does it make formal texts so hard for us to comprehend? Read the full article here to find out: The Single Reason Why People Can’t Write, According to a Harvard Psychologist by Glenn Leibowitz

#357: An explanation for why we have trouble reading academic journals and jargon-dominating texts

#355: An interesting take on ‘willpower’

Have you always depended upon willpower to yourself through tough times? To complete your tasks? To achieve your goals? Why not make a decision, a commitment, and configuring your environment for success instead? Read the full article by Benjamin P. Hardy here: Willpower doesn’t work — here’s how to actually change your habits

#355: An interesting take on ‘willpower’

#354: Today…

Today I played a more active role in helping out in my dance club’s technique session that is specially catered towards our juniors. I was in front along with my vice-chairperson, who led the session, most of the time as she went through each exercise. I took the initiative and approached juniors who I thought weren’t sure of some steps. And when we did the exercises in small groups, I wasn’t embarrassed to consult my better juniors on steps I was unclear with, or executed wrongly.

Today I was among the front few dancers as our instructor taught the exercise for this week’s technique session for the entire club. Today was the first time I willingly let myself be one of the first few dancers to do the across-the-floor exercises. I have always been one of the back few, but I stood in front today. And when my instructor guided me with everyone else watching, I wasn’t afraid.

Today I realised how much I’ve improved. There were certain across-the-floor exercises that I just couldn’t grasp in my first year. I really struggled, and I seemed to be the one that struggled the most. I even had seniors call me out to try and teach me one-on-one. But today, I could do those exercises that I previously struggled with and feared doing.

I thank my seniors for their guidance and well-intentions, even though I felt more embarrassed than I am learning in the past. There is still a lot of room for me to improve on, and I mean A LOT. But I think I can take a moment to reflect and be happy for myself with the progress that I’ve made, that I could recognise rather clearly today.

#354: Today…

#353: Let me tell you something that you already know.

But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!

– Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa, 2006)

Was reminded of these lines from the 2006 film Rocky Balboa. I’ve forgotten about them since…I can’t remember when I last encountered them haha. There was a time when I used to collect quotes about life, about persevering. I think now is a good time to revisit them.

#353: Let me tell you something that you already know.

#352: When the musician you admire is just two arms-length away from you

R and I had an interesting, brief discussion about this local band we like very much while they were going through their second set tonight.

I kept teasing her that tonight, we’re gonna talk to the lead female vocalist that we especially admire, and I may have taken my teasing a little too far till, I think I may have reduced R‘s liking of her. Then I suggested asking the band for a photo after they were done for the night, which we didn’t in the end being as shy and reluctant as we are. But it was when R initiated taking a photo of me with the band when I began to question if that’s what I really wanted, to bridge the gap with a group of talented people I’ve only admired from a distance so far.

That was when the distance came about, and I said something like, “Nah, I’d rather maintain the distance between us.” This distance refers to the relationship (albeit one-sided) between a performer and an audience member. It is professional, it is transactional; the performer is there to entertain, the audience member is there to be entertained. I decided that it was better to preserve the distance, which R agreed. Why? One, because I don’t get to have expectations of the band I admire, expecting them to reciprocate my desire to climb to a more personal level with them. Two, let’s say I do get to know the band more personally and they are cool with that, bridging the gap leads to a loss of some of that allure and admiration that was once there.

That’s why the distance is important. That’s why bands and fans should maintain this distance, so that performers can just perform, and audience members can simply enjoy; no expectations.

#352: When the musician you admire is just two arms-length away from you