The Best Of Times

So I’ve listened to Naval Ravikant’s conversation with Joe Rogan, and I’ve also listened to the 3-hour Podcast featuring his words on how to get rich without getting lucky – or something to those lines. Things lingering in my head are as follows:


My time spent in the ministry has been mostly in worship – or song-leading, really. There was a time I thought the worship was stuck in a certain time period, milked for all that it was worth to the point that the same old songs began to sound… well, just like songs. Perspectives of God and Christ done to death. I believe we still have traces of this up to this day and I believe it will take more time and deeper work for us to progress.

But going back, well, I remember taking up the guitar only because the teams were hesitant in taking on new songs (and new perspectives) because that would mean the musicians would have to learn new progressions, etc. I remember the first time I used the guitar to lead worship, and I remember a lead pastor saying shortly after, ‘did he practice for 10000 hours?’

To this day, apparently I take that personally – I noticed this only because when I heard Naval say that it isn’t about 10000 hours but 10000 iterations, this was the memory that hit me first. And now that I’m writing about it, I remember another song we used to laugh hard at when we were kids, just because of the sheer magnitude of what was asked of the audience:

‘First take a pencil

then draw a picture

then draw twenty thousand

That’s how they made cartoons

in the olden times’

Thinking about it now, it makes so much sense. It’s not about the amount of time spent – it’s about the number of times you keep going back to it. The second try is always going to be better than the first. And for this reason we effortlessly reach ten thousand, even twenty thousand.

Every time you iterate, you refine every aspect of your being involved in the cycle.

In a short YouTube clip whose title escapes me, Jordan Peterson shares that if we were to listen to a speech, we should put our notes down and listen. If we were to read a book, we should put our pencils and highlighters down and read. Only after the speech do we write about what we remember. Only after the chapter do we write about what sticks… And I believe it’s what we remember and what sticks that gives us a clue to what we ought to prioritize.

Seeing how things work in terms of iteration (or repetition, or in a cyclical perspective) gives us an advantage in terms of organization and clarification. We put things in their place. For example, in terms of daily tasks, we would be more eager to do them, only because we understand that the more consistent we are in our iterations, the steadier and more reliable our progressions would be. Thinking in terms of iteration has me exercising more consistently and precisely, and it also has me appreciating my rest even more.

In the longer term, I can look at our weekly services as iterations – and merely looking at it this way adds to how I appreciate the chance I have each week to preach our Gospel. It also has me thinking of substantial ways to add more cycles and iterations within a week (or bi-weekly, etc.) to consistently communicate said Gospel… and every time, mind you, I’m clarifying.

This reminds me of my conversation with Pastor Poppo yesterday (side note – as I tweeted, may you have a consistent supply of wise mentors, dear reader) – Through him I learned that mistakes are not only unavoidable, not only necessary, but in some cases, literally sought after – only for the pleasure of learning. I was also reminded of our Gospel, and how it helps us face our mistakes and blunders without fear… to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

So iterate. Wash, rinse, repeat.

What’s the worst that can happen? Christ.

Bruce Lee

Naval also opened up with something really interesting and inspiring in his talk with Joe Rogan. I’m not quoting his exact words, but it was as follows:

‘Juggling knives is interesting, bears are interesting, but bears juggling knives are extremely interesting’

I think this was in response to how Joe expressed his awe in how a lot of people run to Naval for wisdom – it’s all in the diversity that is held together in one entity. Naval also pointed Bruce Lee out – a martial artist who had a deep, philosophical side to him.

‘Be water, my friend’

I don’t balk at contradiction as much as I do now. Or maybe I do. Contradiction in an entity has us looking for any real harmony, lest we denounce the legitimacy of said entity. And I’m observing that any artificial means to project any sort of harmony only points out the contradiction even more.

Currently I believe that we all are built with our own ‘contradictions’ – that is, they are our contradictions until we make our efforts to own them. And even then, the goal is not to actually own said contradictions, but to come to a point of truly determining whether these things are part of our being or not.

If JB 10 years ago were to read all of this now, I would rebuke myself for sounding so vain and self-centered. That’s one way of putting it, but I maintain now that I only have the confidence of going into these uncharted territories, and these areas once thought of as wrong and evil, because I know that I am loved no matter what.

Again, what’s the worst that can happen? Christ.

Putting it all together, we would do well to answer the following:

What iterations are you involved in right now?

What iterations can you add?

What iterations can you remove?

Are you learning the most out of the cycles you stay in?

And in all this, I believe the word to remember is:

What’s the worst that can happen? Christ.

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