Nothing Doing

From Sam Loyd’s Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, Tricks, and Conundrums (1914,)

  • “You can’t stand for five minutes without moving, if you are blindfolded.”
  • “You can’t stand at the side of a room with both your feet lengthwise touching the wainscoting.”
  • “You can’t get out of a chair without bending your body forward, or putting your feet under it; that is, if you are sitting squarely on the chair, and not on the edge of it.”
  • “You can’t break a match if the match is laid across the nail of the middle finger of either hand, and passed under the first and third finger of that hand, despite its seeming so easy at first sight.”
  • “You can’t stand with your heels against the wall and pick up something from the floor.”
  • “Don’t try to rub your ear with your elbow, for it will be a failure.”
  • “It takes a clever person to stand up when placed two feet from a wall with his hands behind his back and his head against the wall.”

How to Find Success

In All In: Driven by Passion, Energy, and Purpose (2020,) Porter Moser, head coach of the Loyola University Chicago men’s basketball team, on how to find success:

How you think is how you feel, how you feel is how you act, and how you act is what defines you. I believe completely in the progression of these three statements. If you’re thinking good thoughts, you’re going to have a bounce in your step. You’re going to act in a certain way. Likewise, if you’re thinking negative thoughts, if you have a ‘poor me’ attitude, that’s how people will perceive you.

Listen Without Judgement or Agenda

Buddhist teacher and leading voice in end-of-life care activist Frank Ostaseski writes “On What to Do When the Going Gets Rough” from the Tricycle magazine (Summer 2001,)

This is maybe the greatest gift we can give another human being—our undivided attention. To listen without judgement or agendas. The great psychologist Carl Rogers once described empathy as “looking with fresh and unfrightened eyes.”

Solo Travel Opens the Door for Experiences and Encounters

Solo trips are journeys of discovery, both inward and outward, writes Shauna Niequist in Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (2007,)

When you’re (traveling) with someone else, you share each discovery, but when you are alone, you have to carry each experience with you like a secret, something you have to write on your heart, because there’s no other way to preserve it.

Role Models and Diversity

Companies are under increasing pressure to include more women on their governing boards. Although boardroom diversity is increasing, women remain underrepresented, and progress is slow.

The Bartleby column in the Economist reminds that role models are one of the most fundamental ways to manage these barriers:

Having women at the top of organisations may inspire others to emulate them, and board members may be able push through more female-friendly policies lower down in their organisations. But the vast majority of women would never expect to become directors. What they value is an opportunity to get a well-paid job and to be free from discrimination while doing it.

10 Asian Destinations for Solo Travellers

In the SilverKris Magazine of Singapore Airlines, Jessica Farah lists some destinations you must consider for solo trips:

  1. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam … for The French colonial architecture
  2. Siem Reap, Cambodia … for seeing the sunrise over Angkor Wat
  3. Ahmedabad, India … for there is always a festival of some sort
  4. Yangon, Myanmar … for the Shwedagon Pagoda, the city’s crown jewel
  5. Taipei, Taiwan … for its picturesque mountains
  6. Shanghai, China … for its colonial past and the European mansions
  7. Seoul, Republic of Korea … for non-stop partying with some spiritual experiences
  8. Fukuoka, Japan … for the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
  9. Osaka, Japan … for its 137 Michelin-star restaurants
  10. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam … for the jungles of Borneo

Why We Need Stories

Author Robert Stone in an interview with The Paris Review.

We need stories. We can’t identify ourselves without them. We’re always telling ourselves stories about who we are: That’s what history is, what the idea of a nation or an individual is. The purpose of fiction is to help us answer the question we must constantly be asking ourselves: Who do we think we are and what do we think we’re doing?

Chewing on Others’ Thoughts

In the words of Ivan Petrovich Voynitsky (“Uncle Vanya,”) Anton Chekhov writes in Uncle Vanya (1898,)

But I’ll tell you something; the man has been writing on art for twenty-five years, and he doesn’t know the very first thing about it. For twenty-five years he has been chewing on other men’s thoughts about realism, naturalism, and all such foolishness; for twenty-five years he has been reading and writing things that clever men have long known and stupid ones are not interested in; for twenty-five years he has been making his imaginary mountains out of molehills.

Lifelong Virgins

The Futility Closet notes,

Lifelong virgins:

  • Hans Christian Andersen, author
  • J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan
  • Lewis Carroll, author and logician
  • Emily Dickinson, poet
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Søren Kierkegaard
  • Nikola Tesla, inventor
  • Ed Gein, serial killer

Mark Twain kept his virginity until age 34; Goethe until 39.

Voltaire wrote, “It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.”

Purchase Justification and Product Neglect

Cheryl Winokur Munk argues in The Wall Street Journal that, when a new model of a smartphone is mainly about how the product looks, we’re more likely to be careless than when a model offers technological improvements:

When new models of a phone are released, consumers are likely to become more careless with their current device—perhaps unconsciously so—because if it were to break, that would give them a good reason to lay out the money for a new one.

People need justification to act. A study says new technology doesn’t seem as wasteful to consumers and so it gives them a defensible reason to buy the new one—and, thus, less incentive to be careless with their old one. Similarly, the study found that when an upgrade is mainly about how the product looks, consumers are more likely to be careless, because the consumer has a more difficult time justifying spending on a new model.