The Kaizen Newsletter #61 (01/09/2020) - Playing as a default behaviour

Thoughts on "The Inner Game of Tennis", weirdness and productivity systems

Hey friend 👋,

Welcome to the 58th edition of the Kaizen Newsletter ⛩, a weekly newsletter where I share my thoughts, new ideas I learn and make weird connections between self-improvement, productivity, product, tech, sports, anime.

(if you got referred to this page by a friend or are simply visiting you can subscribe here👇)


I recently started reading the book "The Inner Game of Tennis", which acts as a guide to improve your performance in any activity and uses tennis as a medium to demonstrate the concepts discussed in the book.

Although I'm only halfway done, I feel that I've already gained so many important insights. The biggest realization that I've had thus far is that within each person, there are actually "two selves".

These "two selves" emerge when you start talking to yourself and say things like "Come on, Alex, concentrate. Make sure to receive the ball properly."

One self is the conscious teller (self 1) and the other is the doer (self 2). But you can see the biggest difference between both selves in the way that they operate.

Self 1 operates the way we think we should be learning. If you want to learn how to receive a volleyball, you're probably going to go on Youtube to watch a video tutorial and then trying to recall the video when you try to practice it. You'll tell yourself, "Ok, bend your knees, put your arms together and make a platform. Then, put yourself in a position to properly receive the ball and hit it in the middle of your platform."

But self 2 doesn't operate like that.

Self 2 learns by feeling, by observing and especially by "doing". Self 2 doesn't really understand words or theories. Self 2 just "does" and learns by doing the movement until it internalizes it. Self 2 is the one that gets you into Super Saiyan mode. It's that moment where everything just slows down for you and you can play almost to perfection. In those moments, you're not telling yourself what to do. You just go with the flow and things happen automatically without thinking. But you can't tell self 2 to just activate Super Saiyan mode.

To get to that point, it’s important to have harmony between both selves. Once self 1 learns the mechanics, self 1 then needs to trust the "doing self".

That means letting self 2 learn by doing and making sure that self 1 doesn't critique over and over and over.

This way you are able to pay more attention to your body by feeling and observing.

But this insight isn't only useful for sports. This can also be applied to other areas of your life where you can get stuck in your head.

I'm definitely someone that gets too stuck in consuming and theory and not enough applying.

That’s why I’m so glad I started reading this book and will now unleash my self 2 and create a default for practice.

How I view this is exactly if I’m picking up a new sport. Even though I watch a Youtube video, it doesn't mean that I can just implement it right away. I have to give time to self 2 to practice - and fail - before I internalize it.

Similarly, we should be applying the same thought process to a skill such as writing. It’s not enough to read books such as “On Writing Well” or the best tips and tricks on how to write online by David Perell. After giving what self 1 needs, you have to let self 2 do some work as well. And that’s where creating this default for practice comes in.

Now, on to the newsletter.


🤔 Thoughts

👨‍💻 Thoughts on Productivity Sytems

I have this weird thought in my head that I won't be able to produce anything unless I have the absolute best system in place.

So often time, I’m trying to find the best workflows possible and then I think that once I copy it, I'll be churning out articles left and right.

But in reality, we all know that this is not true.

One thing that I confirmed while talking to Brandon is that we shouldn't be thinking of THE productivity system, but more OUR productivity system.

We all process information differently which is why our productivity systems should reflect it as well.

It’s fine to adopt a workflow at the very beginning, but over time, you want to be able to morph your productivity system to how you think and not change the way that you operate to use the productivity system.

This is more of a reminder to myself that the next time I try to implement the “best Roam Research workflow” to first write down how I actually intend to capture and process information and then build a workflow around it.

🤪 Thoughts on Weirdness

I've been thinking of this tweet for the whole weekend. And it's because it's just so important and I feel that I can write so much around the topic.

Recently, I decided that one of my goals in life is to be as authentic as possible. I want to become the most possible "me".

And one of the most important steps to get to that point is to embrace your weird.

We all have quirks that make us unique and I feel that it's so important to be comfortable with ourselves and embracing all of these quirks because it's what sets us apart from everyone else.

I remember a few years ago, there was plenty of stuff that I hated talking about because it made me different than the rest.

Even small things like watching anime or playing trading card games and even enjoying self-improvement are something that I felt was weird.

I just wanted to be "normal" and "cool" so that I can fit into groups. But I realized that it's the opposite.

It's when you embrace your weird and are not afraid of showing your true self that groups will find YOU.

I'm curious, what is one thing that you find weird about yourself that you would want to share with others? Feel free to post in the comments or reply to the email!

Leave a comment

🐦 Tweets

Enjoyed this thread on Dolla Dame that my good friend Michael did.

Loved reading this quote on creating communities.

Really vibed with this tweet. Everyone is unique because only they can share their own perspective on how they see things.

🙏 Shoutout

Shoutout to my TO gang. Enjoyed spending the weekend with this crazy bunch (Jo, Gab, Chan, Phil, HH and Ray) and also ate some amazing food.


👋 End Note

If you want to know what I'm up to now, you can check it on my website here.

If you enjoyed the Kaizen Newsletter, then it'd be cool if you can share it with your friends.

Share The Kaizen Newsletter ⛩

Feedback is always appreciated, so let me know what you liked and what I can improve on by replying to this email.