I finished my second 5k race a few weeks ago at Steven’s Creek Trail. I ran with my roommate Michael (who’s doing his own startup OYO Glasses) and completed it in 25:58, finishing 72nd out of 232 people (7th out of the 16 guys in my age group). It was slower than my first 5k by about 90 seconds which is kind of a bummer, but my training was also a bit off (you’ll see why in a minute). Also, this time I had shorts on. =)

I don’t want to turn this blog into a training / race log so I’ll focus on some useful things I’ve learned before and after the race.

Avoiding Feet / Ankle Pain


I'm screaming not from ankle pain here but just from general exhaustion in my all-out sprint to the finish.

I ran my first 5k in Vibrams and it was great. But after running in Vibrams all the time on pavement, I found my feet and ankles really starting to bother me. I took some time off to see if I just needed some rest but even after not running for most of August, it still hurt when I started running. I knew I wasn’t running hard to enough to have that serious of an injury, so I needed to try new tactics: Continue reading

Their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.

A frequently highlighted passage from Malcom Gladwell’s best-seller: Outliers.*

I love this point and there’s a reason why 1064 Kindler users highlighted it: it exposes the fallacy of talent. Yes – there are certain people who have a natural capacity to learn skills, apply certain kinds of thinking and exert physical maneuvers that are unmatched. But for the vast majority of things and in the vast majority of cases, the best performing person is the one who has worked the hardest and the longest at whatever it is they are doing. Period.

We like to believe that it’s our lack of talent that prevents us from being successful when in reality, it’s probably our lack of sustained hard work.

Side Note:Do you want to get the best nuggets out of a book? Then you’ve got to check out Amazon’s Top Highlighted Passages on Kindle books. It’s a great way to see the passages people like most from various books. This makes it great for remembering important passages from books you’ve already read, and getting the gist of books that you haven’t.

*affiliate link

I want to introduce you to a super awesome dude – Snubby J (aka Ken Jenkins). Inspired by the Blue Man Group, he built (with his dad) a PVC pipe instrument and has learned to play a number of songs with it. Watch the video below, it’s fantastic.

On one hand, the fact that he’s done all this is amazing. I mean you can kind of see it in the faces of the other guys in the performance. I can just imagine the thought process in their head:

  • What’s this kid doing with this goofy haircut and weird instrument?
  • Whoa, interesting – he can make music with this!
  • Man, he’s pretty good!
  • WTF, how the hell does he know so many songs?
  • What?? His friend knows how to play a little too?!? OMG

One hand, without taking anything away from Ken, you can argue that this movie is what this kid has done is triggered the failed simulation effect. This is a concept I first learned from Cal Newport of Study Hacks:

The Failed Simulation Effect: Accomplishments that are hard to explain can be much more impressive than accomplishments that are simply hard to do.

Which makes a lot of sense right? Becoming Class President while maintaining straight-A’s is hard, but imagineable. Running a business out of high school that makes a 33x return on investment in 10 months is unimagineable. Becoming a dude who lobbies UN delegates in South Africa is unimagineable.

Becoming a dude with 2M+ views on Youtube for performing a self-taught medley of songs on an instrument you built yourself is unimagineable.

But here’s the kicker – it’s just as easy/hard as doing anything else. Ken is helpful enough to answer a number of questions in a youtube video and basically it boils down to:

  • he followed his passions (Blue Man Group, performing arts)
  • he was resourceful (built the first PVC instrument for less than $300 based on trial & error and light internet research)
  • he was persistently focused (he’s been playing since around 2007).

None of these things required lots of money, special connections or insane talent. All the things he did are within most people’s reach – he just happens to be the only one who cared enough to go for it.

So go be a superstar. It’s not exceptionally harder than anything else – and is totally worth the effort. it just requires you to think and act a little differently.

PS – If you’re curious about the songs he plays in the video above, here’s the list:

-Office Theme Song (0:18)
-Linus and Lucy (0:38)
-Turkish March (1:13)
-Mario Brothers Theme (1:27)
-In the Hall of the Mountain King (1:54)
-Bad Romance (2:07)
-Viva La Vida (2:50)
-Like a Virgin (3:03)
-Crazy Train (3:23)
-Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (4:01)
-James Bond Theme (4:15)
-Pirates of the Caribbean Theme (4:35)
-The Final Countdown (featuring my friend, Quin) (4:56)

Britney’s new music video – with the sound effects imagination of William Sikora of B Entertainment/BTV. Whatever you think of the song (I’ll posted it above and I think it’s pretty catchy) you can’t deny the music video is pretty compelling. You know manga is mainstream when it’s Britney’s video. -Jason