More Munger, Friends & China

Listening to – Radlands by Mystery Jets

Just a brief tidbit that I really liked from finishing the Munger book. He references some of the stress experiments that Pavlov did later in his life on dogs. Apparently Pavlov found that threshold levels of stress can psychologically “break” dogs. Two of his subsequent subfindings spoke to me: 1) the harder it is to break a dog… once they are broken, the harder it is to fix them and 2) the best way to fix the dog is the reapplication of stress.

That helps to explain what I felt after my junior year of high school. I was broken down from everything that had happened in my academics, sport and personal life. I then skated through my entire senior year feeling burnt out.. and I didn’t feel any better by the end of the year. It was only from the stress of college and the fires of competition that my confidence and sense of identity could be reforged.

The second piece is some thinking I’ve been doing about social circles and how my view on them has evolved. Basically I traditionally felt uncomfortable around successful, whole people and more drawn to people with small flaws. Partially because I felt they were more interesting, but in retrospect perhaps some of that was driven by personal insecurity or a paternalistic desire to play white knight. Now that I’m looking for continuity or for a way to move forward and feeling like few of my friends can help me or understand, my views on that are shifting somewhat.

Finally, a word on personal feelings coming back from China. I was amazed on how connected I felt to relatives I hadn’t see in years. I was tired and initially reluctant to meet them, but I’m glad I did. My heart felt full.

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