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A life ordinary by Amit Sarkar - Issue #12

Amit Sarkar
Amit Sarkar
Hello friends,
Welcome to another HOT edition of my newsletter.
It’s literally very hot right now in the UK. It’s 11 PM and the temperature is 21°C. The UK has never had such a long dry period and Drought has been declared by the Environment Agency in 8 of its 14 areas.
So apart from the hot weather, it was a busy week as well.
We did a Bach to Baby session with our son and that was kinda nice, but I would recommend it only once. There was music from famous Disney films and it was amazing to see so many babies crawling on the floor in the venue hall 😀.
I recorded a podcast episode on UTC (our 49th episode and would love recommendations for our 50th episode). Cycled my local home route and did yoga and personal training.
We attended a birthday party over the weekend and also met my wife’s uncle and aunt. Busy week but very fruitful.
Also, we recently started looking for an ultra-compact stroller for our son and I spoke to a sales representative over a video call from Natural Baby Shower. This video call was powered by Go Instore, an Emplifi company, where I work. The call went really smooth with no audio/video jitters and I actually got a discount from the salesperson. I did buy the stroller from the website but I was simply amazed to see our product in real-life and actually use it without any issues. All the wonderful work done by everyone in our company shows in the high-quality video experience that I had.
In the end, I wanted to say that a few things that I have stopped, since getting Covid, are lifting weights regularly and reading a book. This is something I will start doing from this week onwards and hopefully will continue doing it. I think I need to add it to my calendar so I will never forget doing them.

🧠 Expert
The 4 things it takes to be an expert
The 4 things it takes to be an expert
Recently I saw this amazing video from Veritasium about what it takes to be an expert and which experts have real expertise. But in order to be an expert at something you need to have a good memory. And once we achieve good memory we can recognize patterns in the world based on what we have stored.
Chunking is the process by which the mind divides large pieces of information into smaller units (chunks) that are easier to retain in short-term memory…one item in memory can stand for multiple other items.
Expertise is therefore about recognition and recognition leads to intuition. Recognition itself comes from incredible amounts of highly structured information stored in long-term memory. Building that memory requires 4 things -
  1. Valid environment - One that contains regularities that can then be predictable.
  2. Many repetitions - Many repeated attempts/experiences with feedback. For the same set of actions, one can vastly improve with repetitions than someone who needs to focus on various sets of actions.
  3. Timely feedback - For every pattern, you need timely feedback to make accurate predictions. Immediate feedback supersedes delayed feedback.
  4. Deliberate practice - If you want to improve, you need to practice in challenging situations. Don’t get too comfortable. Even experts need to practice regularly.
To become an expert you have to practice for 1000s of hours in the uncomfortable zone attempting to do things that you can’t do yet.
Don’t blindly trust experts.
🎙️ Podcast
I recently heard an episode of The Working Athlete Podcast, hosted by BikeyVenky, whom I met during the 2011 edition of the Tour of Nilgiris. The most amazing thing about Venky during the tour was that he did the entire tour on a fixed gear (no freewheel) bicycle.
He recently interviewed Kandappa Ch, whom I know from my cycling days in Chennai, a coastal capital in Southern India.
The podcast is about endurance riding and has some very important lessons. Endurance or long-distance riding is riding at least 100 kms in one session. Kandappa has himself done 1000 kms of cycling in 74 hrs 30 mins. He is currently in the UK and just participated in the London Edinburgh London cycling event.
In this podcast, Kandappa talks about focussing on
  • putting in the miles in your legs,
  • cycling consistently,
  • not overdoing it by taking enough rest,
  • developing mental strength by riding alone,
  • learning how to power nap,
  • breaking a big number into smaller chunks.
In the end, he also talks about preventing injuries and developing strength & flexibility.
I hope I get a chance to meet him and relive our Chennai cycling experiences before he flies back.
🚽💩 Poo
Look before you flush.
At the end of June, Dame Deborah James died from Bowel cancer at the age of 40. Her last words on her podcast were, “Check your poo”.
Talking about such a topic might put off a lot of people but I feel it’s important to discuss the health of our gut.
Many people keep asking why I turned vegan after being a meat eater since my childhood.
Well, I was a meat eater and became vegetarian for 5 years and then turned vegan. I have been vegan since Dec-2019 and I feel great. The one thing I am most happy about is my bowel movements are great. I love the fact that I can eat a lot and still have a comfortable release. Eating meat made me very uncomfortable afterwards. But since I became vegetarian and subsequently vegan, I feel much lighter and more energetic overall.
It is to do with the amount of fibre I now take in more than anything else.
Now I am not preaching to anyone to turn vegan. I respect everyone’s choices. But I am suggesting increasing your fibre intake by having more fruits, vegetables, lentils and nuts. And keep a track of your bowel movements and always look before you flush. Knowledge is power and it helps us be in control of our actions.
The article below gives a lot of insight into various diets and their impacts on our gut health and various other things.
Bowel Movements: The Scoop on Poop |
🖥️👴 Technology for Seniors
I enjoy teaching and I love technology. I want to understand more and more about it but also teach people about what I know.
That’s why I started my YouTube Channel, a Tech podcast and recently this newsletter.
Recently I visited my wife’s uncle and aunt who are quite senior and were struggling with some computer issues. I fixed it for them and they were really happy. Even though they are confident with the law (they are lawyers), they aren’t confident with technology.
This made me realize that there are many seniors who don’t know many different aspects of technology even though they are surrounded by it. I am not talking about paying by a credit card, etc. But simple things for us like casting on TV, or resolving some issue on our Windows machine by doing a quick Google search, etc.
Whenever there is talk about accessibility there is a lot of focus on people our age. But very less or none about seniors.
If we want to live in a world where everyone is fully integrated, then we must design tech products keeping various types of consumers in mind, no matter the age, gender, or ability.
The Ultimate Guide to Teach Tech to Seniors - Easy Tech Seniors
Thank you so much once again for reading my newsletter this week. Please feel free to Buy me a coffee if you are enjoying what I am sharing.
Until we meet again next week, please take care of each other, stay hydrated, eat lots of fibre and check your poo 😀.
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Amit Sarkar
Amit Sarkar @amit_Sarkar007

Newsletters are the new form of blogging where instead of you coming to the blog, the blog comes to you. Every week I will aim to publish my newsletter to talk about things I have done, read, heard or watched. The idea behind this newsletter is to talk about my ordinary life in the hope that you might find something interesting in it.

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Bromley, Greater London, United Kingdom