The other day I asked my mom to watch the Iron Lady. It’s always nice to watch a historical movie with her, because she really understands history. She gets it and she continuously complains to my nephew, Tarash, for his lack of understanding in geography and history. Or maybe ignorance is bliss, mom :). The movie itself, it’s either Meryl Streep’s impeccable acting or Margaret Thatcher’s personality that made me so drawn into the flashback-plot movie. The beginning already caught my attention when Thatcher bought milk just like an ordinary elderly lady, passed by Louboutin’s boutique. Yes, the Louboutin boutique caught my attention, as contrast to the increasing milk price that Thatcher complained later on.
I was severely touched by her character. I instantly compared her to Julia Gillard as the Australian Prime Minister whose personal life is entirely different to Thatcher’s as a conservative. Dennis proposed Thatcher on the day she lost her first attempt to run for office and that step either changed or helped her climb the social ladder thus she finally got elected as Member of Parliament. On the contrary, Gillard whom I got to see her debate directly during my ANU (Australian National University) program in Canberra is having a very self-defined personal life (not bound by any social restrictions to be a “polished” politician).
It took a great deal of personal ambition to push Thatcher all the way up to become a Prime Minister. Sometimes even too irrational to ever be systematized in blueprints. And this movie reminded me of the King’s Speech, because it’s not just a matter of substance in one’s deliberation, but also performance as detailed as how your voice resonates can really do influence the audience or political entourage/opponent and create certain image of your political facade. From stuttering to screeching voice, both should be fixed. This, reminds me of what Drew Weston said in The Political Brain about Political Intelligence. Obviously it takes a long while to have political intelligence; it doesn’t come as instant gratification from just wanting to become a politician (please read my Sindo article, Evolusi Intensionalitas Politik)
About political intelligence, there’s one trait of Thatcher that blew my mind away. She’s not just brilliant, consistent, tactical, ideological, and severe in fighting for what she believed in. She’s philosophical. Being philosophical is not about being able to quote any philosophers’ wise thought in this world. But it is how to define the importance of thinking and not just feeling. When she was being sarcastic to the doctor who examined her, I instantly remembered the lines she was trashing on his face. The lines her father taught her. It suddenly hit me, I seriously just read those lines but forgot from which book. Hence when I got home I rummaged through my stacks of books and found this small black book, The Decision Book: Fifty models for strategic thinking, by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler. Page 24 in this book:
Pay attention to your thoughts, because they become words.
Pay attention to your words, because they become actions.
Pay attention to your actions, because they become habits.
Pay attention to your habits, because they become your character.
Pay attention to your character, because it is your fate.
From the Talmud
Yep, the story above showed my experience in trying to remember stuffs. Have you ever had trouble remembering stuffs? Newsweek’s January 8 & 16, 2012 edition was very helpful with the article on 31 ways to get smarter-faster in 2012. There are many ways, but I’m going to start with this particular way:
TOSS YOUR SMARTPHONE.
Like, in the garbage: constantly checking your email disrupts focus and saps productivity. And go offline from time to time by installing Freedom, Internet-blocking software that lets you concentrate on the task at hand.
As I am writing this, my Smartphone has been turned off since last night. It is really the most paradoxical gadget in the world. It is helpful in so many practical ways yet it is killing the person in you. The person who is possibly contemplative, productive in thoughts yet you pour them out through a gadget in a chat to random person throwing away the possible great ideas to ever be written in actual books. What gives? :)
This one is also good supposedly to help you become smarter:
WRITE BY HAND.
Remember what that feels like? Brain scan shows that handwriting engages more sections of the brain than typing. Bonus brain boost: it’s easier to remember something once you’re written it down on paper.
I remember the first time I was ever writing a fiction, it was in 7th grade. I was writing several short fictions; A Week in Paradise Island, Love Story in Acapulco, and Dance Party. Those stories were written by hand. Pencil was my favorite. And I wrote them in my father’s workroom. Except it still blew my mind away how my writing was somewhat involving pubertal fantasy. I must say my fantasy was more advanced yet elegant than some boys my age that probably got self-educated through (possibly distasteful) porn movies. No offense :). I’m just saying, in reminiscence of my psychosocial/psychosexual development in junior high school. Thus, many friends who were open-minded often borrowed these stories for “educational” purpose. But they’re not allowed to copy. I wish I could find these pieces again. They’re stacked somewhere in the drawers.
I’m also gonna quote these from Newsweek.
HOW DO YOU BUFF YOUR BRAIN?
1.DAVID DEUTSCH (AUTHOR OF THE BEGINNING OF INFINITY)
“Be contradicted. If there’s something that I was sure is true, and then someone comes along and says, ‘No, that’s false,’ it’s very exciting! Whether it turns out that I was right or wrong after all, I’ve got to keep at it until I find out which it is.”
2.STEVEN PINKER (HARVARD PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR)
“No gimmicks. If you want to get a lot out of reading, read a lot; if you want to get better at remembering errands or birthdays, practice remembering errands or birthdays. No shortcuts, no cross-training —no Sudoku.”
Two reasons why I intended to name this “light” serial writing as Ridiculous Thoughts, as opposed to other serious pieces I’ve written: 1. Informally borrowing the Cranberries’ song, Ridiculous Thoughts. 2. I know I’m just gonna write randomly whenever I have spare time. In the hope of whoever reads this can catch the underlying purpose of the writing itself. To appreciate one’s thoughts, no matter how ridiculous they can be: they’re yours. Authentic.