You can download a rough version of Human Machine here.
It is winter holidays, 7.30am and we’re waking up the kids. Every Monday, they attend their Chinese class, and todays it starts at 8am. They are turning 11, 9 & 7 this year. I am amazed by their motivation, their good mood, their willingness to be good students.
I find the contrast with my young self fascinating. I have never been that kid. Our education, alongside my brother and my sister, was a lot more loose, even though it’s been filled with truth, love and values. I couldn’t picture myself with a smile on my face, learning Chinese or doing my homework with such diligence.
Looking backwards, it’s easy to draw the path. I have reflected on the remarkable events of my life, on the things that drive my actions and reactions. It allowed me to know myself better, to understand my emotions, my triggers, my mindset.
To get to know yourself is like to understand the mechanics of a machine. A machine is tangible, it’s rational, it’s mostly logical. A mindset is intangible, it’s emotional, it’s irrational. Yet, both are linked to one another and if you ask me, it’s easier to work with the dynamics of the machine first, rather than the mindset.
One of the best universal example, is what many parents tell their kids during their young age sometimes around the dinner table: “Do what you love, you’ll be great at it”. It couldn’t be more wrong. Love is a feeling, and it can sometimes be a fantasy. There are lots of things we believe we love and that we’re quite mediocre at. That’s why I always give the opposite advice to students, young professionals, and my kids… “Do what you’re great at, you will love it”. It probably sounds a bit less inspirational but it’s definitely closer to the truth.
When we ask our kids to wake up early during holidays in order to attend their Chinese class, or whenever we insist on the fact that a smile, a nice word and genuine intentions win over a behaviour of domination, rudeness, resentment, we push them to act on a certain way. if gratitude and rewards result from these efforts, it provides satisfaction, completing a loop where by working on mechanical aspects, we gain satisfaction throughout certain actions, impacting meaningfully our mindset.
While my diligence and patience towards helping my kids grow-up with the right aptitudes is questionable, my wife on the contrary is a force of commitment in that regard. And we all know how much patience it takes to help a young individual achieve meaningfully their potential.
Amusing twist to conclude, today they learnt the word “calm” as peace, tranquility, a sign represented by a woman under a roof, the solid chief of a home, a family in Chinese.
What is true for kids is also true for adults. To adjust your mindset, get to know yourself better and then act on the mechanical elements that will make your machine work towards achievements and satisfaction. From there your mindset will evolve.
Back in 2018, I wrote a book called Human Machine, based on that same principle. Initially, it was written in English and then translated into proper French; The original version hasn’t been corrected but it’s quite authentic nonetheless and you can download it for free here: https://docsend.com/view/rujs8hr6nrsxzr9p