There’s something about sleep and sleep optimization that seems to captivate people in the productivity and lifestyle design communities. I suspect it’s mostly because people who are deep into lifestyle design also tend to be fairly ambitious and, as a result, the thought of spending less time asleep and having more time to accomplish things is tantalizing.
Our very first experiment in fact was with trying to switch to a polyphasic sleep schedule. I called it a success at the time, but I recognize now it was a failure.
I’ve not abandoned my interest in optimizing sleep though, and since then over time I accumulated a collection of methods for optimizing sleep that are backed not only by my own personal experiences, but more importantly by actual research.
Externally one of the most imposing aspects of learning a new language is the thought of tackling all that vocabulary.
If you’ve ever seen an unabridged Oxford English Dictionary, you know just how vast a lexicon can be. Grammar rules and even exceptions can be memorized easily and tend to be finite, learning a new writing system only takes 15 minutes or so, but there are hundreds of thousands of words out there. So how do you face this imposing wall of verbiage? How in the world can you possibly be expected to learn all of that in any reasonable amount of time?
That’s ok though, because you don’t have to learn everything.
There are a lot of reasons to learn a second language. These can range from the extremely practical (being relocated to a country for work that doesn’t speak your native language) to the extremely personal (you enjoy a good challenge and love to study new things) to comfortably in-between (you want to be able to make personal connections with speakers of another language or in another country).
Some people would say your reasons for learning a new language isn’t important. They’d say that every reason is perfectly valid as long as it inspires you to start learning. After all, everyone’s reasons are their own and who are we to judge and let’s all just hug and be happy.
Those people are imbeciles.
Imagine for a moment that you’re walking down a quiet street minding your own business when a car driven by a distracted teenager veers around the corner and up onto the sidewalk and clips you (don’t text and drive kids).
You tumble through the air and hit the ground in a heap a few yards away and the teen speeds off. You’re a bloody mess, and are barely hanging on to consciousness when you see a stranger running towards you. He runs up to you and kneels down.
“Wow, you’re really messed up,” he says. “Your one leg’s popped out of its socket, want me to put it back for you?”
“Are… are you a doctor?” you ask.
“No. But I’m a really nice guy.”
While all that business about every one of your cells being replaced every seven years isn’t entirely true, people do tend to go through major changes in their lives in cycles of seven years or so. Think about your own life broken down into 7 year chunks. How different were you at 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, 56 and so on?
Beyond the fact that we tend to change in tastes and personality every 7 years, we also tend to refresh our social networks every septennial. That’s not to say you completely abandon your old friends for new ones every seven years, but people tend to replace a majority of them and your primary friends shift. Add on to that fact the general guideline that it takes roughly seven years or so on average to master a new skill or profession and you wind up with what almost amounts to a brand new person every seven years.
I think that’s absolutely fantastic.