…When I was your age, I felt like I had just stepped off a spaceship, flying from my home planet of Seoul, Korea to a planet called Brunswick, Maine, with its Bowdoin College. I did not understand the country I landed in, let alone understand the zeitgeist, how it came to be, where it was going. I was an alien in a country where for people my age, popularity seemed more important than anything. When I wasn’t invited to join one of the ten fraternity houses on campus then, I spent most of my time in college shooting pool in the student union—or with the friends I found at the Afro-Am Center, listening to Marvin Gaye and Jimi Hendrix. I didn’t really know who they were; I just knew they were cool.Throughout my studies at Bowdoin and later at Columbia, I never thought of myself as part of the “mainstream.” But it never bothered me that I was on the outside looking in. By training and temperament I am a scholar—and by definition, a scholar is not a participant in the events as they occur—they are observers. There is a little-noticed advantage in not being in the mainstream—standing there, your nose pressed against the window, on the outside looking in. From that vantage point you can observe many things that active participants and mainstreamers do not see.Eric Hobsbawm, in his autobiography, A Twentieth Century Life, spoke of the contributions that the Jewish people have made to the modern world, a contribution so disproportionate to their numbers. Part of the genius that they brought to Europe and later to the United States was that they were outsiders—essential outsiders—seeing things that insiders often cannot. Over the course of American history, outsiders have brought so much talent to this country.
We all want to do it. Here are some informative articles on transitioning to a healthier life.
Minimalism is Health: How I Lost 70 Pounds | The Minimalists
How I Changed My Life, In Four Simple Lines | Zen Habits
Road to Health Series | Oh She Glows
Why I Train | Eliz Climbs
What do you suggest for those of us who don’t have a tiger mom, but…based on the apparent outcome..want a tiger parent? How can I get more disciplined without a tiger mother?
The key word there is “apparent.” But okay, here’s my somewhat weird advice: go running every day. Even when it’s humid or raining or you are really busy. I’m not naturally fast or strong; running is by far my biggest source of self-discipline, and it helps in other aspects of my life. I ran a half-marathon this spring – it was really stupid of me, actually, I did it spontaneously between my morning and afternoon physics classes with no training – and since then, whenever I’m tempted to quit something, I tell myself, “Stop whining. You’ve done something infinitely more painful.”
What links did you like this week? :)