February 28, 2023, Issue 7#

Dear Bodhisattvas, greetings!

Yesterday, the famous economist Mr. Li Yining passed away. He was not only a leading figure in China's economics but also an active advocate for economic system reform. Today, Caixin Net commemorates him with an article titled "Mr. Li Yining and Poetry" (link: One of the poems in the article goes like this:

The clear creek flows down the stone ditch,
A thousand bends and turns without looking back.
In the pursuit of knowledge throughout one's life,
Only the hard work matters, not the rewards.

Below is the main content of this issue, with an estimated reading time of about 5 minutes.

1. Desires#

In the book "Cognitive Awakening," there is a passage that says: Only when we truly accomplish something do we realize that we are actually capable of very little. This realization reduces our desires and anxieties, allowing us to focus more on the tasks at hand.

Have you ever noticed this fact? In the process of pursuing something, we are often plagued by endless desires and anxieties. It is only after achieving our goals that we realize we don't actually have the ability to accomplish many things.

If you have noticed this fact, have you considered cherishing the tasks you are currently working on more?

Desires themselves are neither good nor bad; they are simply part of human nature. They can serve as our motivation and drive, pushing us to constantly strive for a better life. However, when we cannot control our desires and excessively pursue material possessions and pleasures, it can have negative effects such as anxiety and disappointment.

The key to dealing with desires lies in balance and self-discipline. We need to find a balance between desires and rationality, satisfying our own needs while being mindful of the impact our actions have on ourselves and others. At the same time, we need to learn self-discipline and not let our desires dominate our lives. In other words, we need to constantly pay attention to our inner selves.

In the pursuit of something, we often overestimate our abilities and time, taking on too many tasks, which leads to anxiety and disappointment. On the contrary, when we maintain a realistic perspective and focus our energy on limited goals, we are more likely to achieve success and reduce feelings of anxiety and disappointment.

2. Action#

Many times, we think too much and act too little. We get stuck in analysis paralysis, overthinking, without taking practical actions to solve problems or achieve goals.

Take personal knowledge management as an example. Some friends do extensive research, understand the theoretical framework of personal knowledge management, and tinker with various software, but in the end, they still don't actually practice personal knowledge management. In response to this, I wrote an article titled "Tinkering with Note-taking Software is a Double-edged Sword: Don't Neglect Writing Notes and Thinking" (link:

For ordinary people like me, while ideas and plans are important, only taking action can bring about real change and progress. Because there are too many factors beyond my control when it comes to ideas and plans, if I don't take practical action, how would I know if the ideas are just castles in the air or if the plans are grounded?

Just as Nike's famous slogan says, "Just do it," we must be courageous in taking action and not stay stuck in the stage of ideas and plans. In the process of taking action, we will encounter various challenges and difficulties, but only through continuous practice and exploration can we improve our abilities and achieve better results.

Of course, taking action does not mean acting blindly. It also requires attention to the following points:

  1. Set goals: Before taking action, clarify your goals and expectations. Only with clear goals can we better plan and implement action steps.
  2. Break down tasks: For larger goals, we need to break them down into specific tasks and action steps for better management and implementation.
  3. Master methods: In practical action, we need to master relevant methods and techniques to achieve goals more efficiently and accurately.
  4. Maintain motivation: During the action process, we need to constantly maintain motivation and positivity, not letting setbacks and difficulties undermine our confidence and determination.

3. Reflection#

A few days ago, there was a small reflection on product development, which may not be accurate, but is open for discussion.

People involved in product development need to be bold in their thinking and restrained in their actions.

In terms of thinking and innovation, an open mind is needed to consider problems from different perspectives and find innovative solutions. In terms of execution, a restrained attitude is needed to organize resources, clarify plans, and execute efficiently, with the quality of the final product as the standard.

4. Broad Perspectives#

  1. "The Best Design System is No System" (link: Although design systems can provide many benefits, we should not overly rely on them. The author believes that there is a tendency to make decisions that benefit the system rather than the users, and excessive reliance on systems can stifle innovation. In the end, the author suggests that the best design system may not be a system at all, and healthy critical thinking is key when dealing with design systems.
  2. "Why Expert Opinions Fail" (link: We should recognize the value of professional knowledge but be wary of the power of authoritative discourse.
  3. "Social Media as the Main Cause of Mental Illness in Teenage Girls" (link: According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 53% of young girls reported experiencing persistent sadness or hopelessness, a significant increase from 36% in 2011; 30% of girls said they seriously considered suicide, compared to 19% in 2011. While the proportion among young boys is not as high, their rates of depression and anxiety have also increased. The COVID-19 pandemic is not the main cause of this trend; social media is believed to be the main cause of mental illness in teenage girls. Today, most social interactions take place through smartphones and social media, and even if someone wants to quit social media, they may end up feeling isolated in social interactions because their friends are using social media.
  4. "Fat, Sugar, Salt... You've Got Food All Wrong" (link: In the late 2000s, Brazilian nutritionist Carlos Monteiro noticed a strange trend in his country's food consumption data: despite buying less oil, sugar, and salt, Brazilians were getting bigger. Monteiro realized that traditional foods like rice and beans were being replaced by pre-packaged snacks, leading to excessive consumption of ultra-processed foods. To address this problem, he created the NOVA food classification system, which categorizes food into four groups based on their processing methods. Ultra-processed foods are designed for excessive consumption and aim to replace freshly prepared dishes. They make up a significant portion of our diet and are associated with health problems such as obesity, cancer, and depression. Scientists have not reached a consensus on what exactly constitutes ultra-processed foods or why they are unhealthy beyond their nutritional content, but there is evidence that these foods are designed to trigger a powerful reward response in our brains, making us constantly come back for more. Some scientists suggest that if we apply the standards used for tobacco products, ultra-processed foods should be considered addictive substances.
  5. "The Unique 'Two-Person Structure' Rule of Chinese People: Compressing Human Nature" (link: When dealing with the outside world, Chinese people have a wishful thinking, believing that if someone is from outside their circle and wants to access the resources within their circle, they should naturally come to them to ask for it. Or when dealing with someone they want to get close to, they believe that if they have been good to that person, that person should naturally reciprocate and be good to them.

5. Updates to Paid Columns#

6. Blog Updates#

7. Zen Koan#

"To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind."

Excerpt from the "Diamond Sutra"

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