When I started learning languages in my late teenage years, I began with French and Persian. French, like most European languages, uses an alphabetic writing system, whereas Persian, like many languages in the Middle East uses an abjad writing system. I later also learned north Indian languages which use abugida writing systems, and last year I began learning Japanese which makes use of both syllabic and logographic writing systems. If you’re reading this article you’ll be familiar with alphabetic writing systems, where individual symbols generally represent both vowels and consonants.
At the beginning of 2016 I was overweight. My frame since childhood had been wiry, and through adolescence to young adulthood, finding myself a victim of pop culture’s false dichotomy of intellectualism/athleticism, my activity levels decreased and my percentage of body fat rose. My activity levels as an undergraduate student were already low, but I was not prepared for just how physically static my life would become when I began working.
When I initially set a goal for myself, nine times out of ten it will be abstract and unmeasurable; not particularly useful in the long run, but enough to get me moving in the right direction. My specific fitness goal for 2017 is to be able to hold an l-sit on gymnastics rings, and this goal is helping to shape my long-term approach to fitness throughout the year. On the other hand, I have not had any sort of equivalently defined goal when it comes to writing; it has essentially just been ‘improve writing skills’.
I imagine that summer vacations from school comprised formative periods for many people across the world. Six weeks (or more) without broken education systems breathing down our necks, allowing us to discover all those things that require long, uninterrupted blocks of time to understand and appreciate. At some point during the last five years I started reading the works of Nassim Taleb. I regularly find myself coming back to one of the more well-known quotes taken from one of his books: