12 ways to get Smarter, Mastery vs. Status, 8 Tweaks to Reclaim Your Life

The High Five - Edition #31

Hello friends,

I’m Aakarsh and this is ‘The High Five’ - a newsletter curating some of the interesting reads and perspectives of the week. A warm welcome to all the new subscribers - thank you very much for giving some space in your life (your mailbox or your attention) to ‘The High Five’. If you got this newsletter as a forward from a benign friend, you can subscribe (if you like it, after reading) by clicking this button.

There’s quite some interesting stuff I read in the last week. Here are my picks of 3 articles and 2 thoughts that I’d like to share in this 31st edition of ‘The High Five’:

  1. Mental Models:12 Ways to Get Smarter - in 1 Infographic

  2. Progress: Pursue Mastery, Not Status

  3. Peace of Mind:8 Tweaks to Reclaim Your Life

  4. A quote on self-esteem

  5. A question about courage and willingness to look foolish


Mental Models: 12 Ways to Get Smarter - in 1 Infographic

I am a big fan of mental models. I collected quite a few of them till now and I constantly refer to them for various situations - personal or work-related. I came across this website which had an infographic covering 12 ways to get smarter using mental models. It is by Michael Simmons, who has collected over 650 mental models so far and has a pretty good page on Medium.

Obviously, the above image is too small to read - I suggest you explore the link and go down the rabbit hole. Perhaps there might be at least a couple of them that you will like and might want to take note of.


Progress: Pursue Mastery, Not Status

If you have been a regular reader of ‘The High Five’, you might have already noticed that I am a big of the posts of Lawrence Yeo. Not only his posts are accessible and digestible - thanks to his incredible art-work - but his perspectives are deeply profound and filled with lot of wisdom. This particular post is about chasing Mastery over metrics (of eye-balls). I found it fascinating that his argument seeks to disassociate ourselves with the typical human tendency of putting ‘status’ on pedestal. It immediately reminded me of Indian entrepreneur Kunal Shah’s takes on wealth vs. status (digression begins/: I highly recommend exploring Kunal’s takes on wealth driven societies vs. status driven societies. A sample video here. For the curious - India is a status driven society/).

Lawrence shares some profound wisdown about how chasing metrics becomes a sort of status game, which is fundamentally flawed. His take is that our position on the totem pole is always relative to someone else’s and if we are vying for status, we won’t be able to make things for our own joy. Instead, we will end up waiting for someone else to elevate us up this pole - which makes us seek external validation, and that, in turn, makes us place our locus of identity externally.

The tools we use to create and distribute our work have democratized the playing field, but they have made us slaves to the metrics of attention. Each domain wields its standard metric of progress, and by focusing on it intently, we gauge our work not by what we produce, but how it is received and measured. This quickly devolves into a hierarchical way of thinking because anytime progress is standardized, a status game is reinforced. By definition, standardization makes everyone easily comparable, and this removal of nuance causes us to rank people. - Lawrence Yeo

This is a must read for anyone who is trying to amplify their online presence - be it through blogs, YouTube videos or simple LinkedIn posts.


Peace of Mind: 8 Tweaks to Reclaim Your Life

Speaking of LinkedIn… in the last one year, I came across some very inspiring leaders on LinkedIn. One of them is Ayon Banerjee - a prolific blogger, who recently compiled all his blogposts into a book - ‘As You Life It’. It is a great read, if you want to try it. His recent post is about 8 tweaks he made to his lifestyle/thinking/attitude that helped him reclaim his life, for… sanity and peace of mind. The post resonated with me a lot and I thought of sharing it here. Below is a visual summary of the same (apologies of small size font, couldn't figure how to fix it despite trying).

If you are in your 30s, the chances of you resonating with this post are higher. I must admit that my illustration above has some of my own tweaks - based on how I interpret his suggestions for my context. But give the post a read - it is one of the best posts I read off-late.


A quote that resonated with me: Self-esteem is just the reputation that you have with yourself. You'll always know. - Naval Ravikant


A question I wrestled with this week: I recently read a line - “The first step to being courageous is being willing to look foolish”. Now, how do we practice that, every day, keeping our ego aside?


A beautiful World Music genre based album I discovered recently - based on a recommendation from a music buff I follow on Spotify - is Korolen by Toumani Diabete & London Symphony Orchestra. Try it out - the music is quite evocative.

And now that you got a sense of what ‘The High Five’ reads like, please share it with a friend if you liked it. Alternatively, you can also drop a comment - to tell me what I can do better to make it more engaging for you. Thanks. See you next time.

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