“Strategic incompetence is the art of avoiding undesirable tasks by pretending to be unable to do them, and though the phrase was apparently only recently coined in a Wall Street Journal article, the concept is surely as old as humanity. “
“The ambiguity effect is a cognitive bias where decision making is affected by a lack of information, or “ambiguity”. The effect implies that people tend to select options for which the probability of a favorable outcome is known, over an option for which the probability of a favorable outcome is unknown. The effect was first described by Daniel Ellsberg in 1961.”
I will often choose a familiar restaurant, even when revisiting a foreign city, where the probably of a favourable outcome, a good meal, is higher. Or I will spend hours researching and reading reviews of restaurants increasing the likelihood of a nice meal. This means I may miss some of the great restaurants as I don’t consider any unknown options, or I choose something within known parameters.
On hiking to a mountain peak, on return I will typically follow the path I followed on the way up, or a path I have taken before. I don’t see this as a negative per se, as I believe it reduces the chances of getting lost or walking off a cliff.
There’s an old apocryphal story from 16th-century where a young man climbs a large mountain to speak to the sage at the top. Supposedly this sage knew, like, everything and stuff. And this young man was anxious to understand the secrets of the world.
Upon arriving at the top of the mountain, the sage greeted the young man and invited him to ask him anything (note: this was way before Reddit threads). The young man then asked him his question, “Great sage, we stand upon the world, but what does the world stand upon?”
The sage immediately replied, “The world rests upon the back of a number of great elephants.”
The young man thought for a moment, and then asked, “Yes, but what do the elephants stand upon?”
The sage replied again, without hesitation, “The elephants rest upon the back of a great turtle.”
The young man, still not satisfied, asked, “Yes, but what does the great turtle rest upon?”
The sage replied, “It rests upon an even greater turtle.”
The young man, growing frustrated, began to ask, “But what does–”
“No, no,” the sage interrupted, “stop there–it’s turtles all the way down.”
“The trouble isn’t simply that we subjugate our non-work lives to work, but that we subjugate the present to the future – which, as you might have noticed, never arrives. In seeking to spend life as productively as we can, we bring upon ourselves the ultimate ironic punishment: we miss it.”
“Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties — all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name’s Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious sex, and, in various ways, religion — these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.”
David Foster Wallace on Loneliness: I often like being alone – but I don’t like being lonely
A picture perfect hike up Mount Cougal: zigzagging along the Queensland and New South Wales Border through rainforest, visiting two peaks and crawling through a giant spear lilly tunnel. A decent way to spend a Sunday morning.
In the outskirts of Ballandean, a small town about 3 hours south west of Brisbane, Australia, lies a paddock. The thing that differentiates this paddock from every other paddock in the area is its unlikely contents: a 30 x 30 metre square and 18 metre high pyramid built with 9000 tonnes of rock. There’s no sign (except ‘no trespassing’), no explanation, and nothing surrounds it. It’s unlikely and unexpected.
“One of the biggest lessons is given a challenging situation — kids who want pizza — we all tend to default to what we should do instead of asking what we could do. My colleagues and I did an experiment in which I gave participants difficult ethical challenges where there seemed to be no good choice. I then asked participants either “What should you do?” or “What could you do?” We found that the “could” group were able to generate more creative solutions. Approaching problems with a “should” mindset gets us stuck on the trade-off the choice entails and narrows our thinking on one answer, the one that seems most obvious. But when we think in terms of “could,” we stay open-minded and the trade-offs involved inspire us to come up with creative solutions.”
We recently visited Sydney and about half-way between our accommodation and the nearby playground was a waterless water feature the boys couldn’t resist running through every time. I loved all the lines.
So sad to hear the news that Avicii is no longer with us. One of my favourite electronic dance music artists – we’ve spent much time dancing to his songs in our lounge rooms over the years. Rest In Peace 💙
I’ll always have fond memories of Flinders Peak in that it was my first tough mountain that I tackled by myself on my nature/fitness journey. I’ve got this week off work so I did a solo trip up mid-morning yesterday. I thought I’d check out the southern side of the mountain and discovered some great views south and back towards the peak that I hadn’t seen before. Refreshing.
During our road trip to Sydney last week we had a swim in the Mahon Pool – an ocean pool in the Eastern suburbs. I love swimming in ocean pools: as refreshing as the ocean without the sand or waves. I wish South East Queensland had some of these pools.
Living on the East Coast of Australia we see beautiful sunrises over the ocean, but occasionally there’ll be such a dramatic sunset it’s able to light up the whole ocean as well. In December last year we stayed for a few nights in Lennox Head on the glorious Northern NSW Coast and had a few nights in a row of lovely sunsets.
It’s easy for someone becoming increasingly interested in hiking to mountain peaks, not unlike a heroin addict, to desire a bigger and bigger ‘hit’. A few weeks ago it was Mount Tibrogargan at 364m, then Mount Beerwah at 556m, but over the weekend it quickly escalated (literrally) to Mount Barney at 1359m! The hike was 17.5km and over 1200m up!
I must admit I didn’t enjoy it, it was too rough on my body and reaching the highest peak for it to be fully covered in clouds was a major let down. But not enough of a let down to return and do it all again. It didn’t help I was recovering from a rather-nasty sinus infection which made me feel even lousier when I’d finished. I’ve learned from the experience that bigger isn’t always better, and that I should re-visit and appreciate some of the smaller mountains I have access to without constantly seeking a bigger and riskier hit.