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Chicken Chasing Social Hacks


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One of the common ideas in all the Rocky movies is strange training techniques.

In the first one, this was famously Rocky hitting huge slabs of meat.

In another one, Mickey, his trainer, had him chasing around a chicken.

In still another one, when he fought the Russian guy (Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren) they had a kind of interesting juxtaposition.

They'd show the Russian training on a bunch of high tech equipment, then they'd show Rocky lifting up rocks or pulling people up mountains in carts.

You'll find this kind of thing quite a bit.

Both in movies and real life.

Perhaps the most famous is the, "wax on, wax off" idea from Karate kid.

That doing a whole bunch of really boring movements will train in some muscle memory.

This idea is interesting because it's completely different from "common sense."

That if you want to get better at boxing, you MUST practice boxing.

Or if you want to become a better martial artists, you MUST practice martial arts.

These ideas, of hitting slabs of meat or doing wax-on-wax-off exercises to kind of side step the expected kind of exercises are very much hacks.

And we humans LOVE hacks.

In fact, you may even say the entire creation of modern society, going all the way back to the first agricultural societies were hacks.

Some guy was doing some really boring job, over and over and over again.

While he was doing that, he had the very common thought:

"There's GOT to be a better way to do this."

Even a few comedies have little kids who hack their way around the necessary lawn mowing.

They tie the lawnmower to a post in the middle of the grass.

The lawn mower goes around and around in a circle, getting smaller each time.

We see a kid doing this in a movie and it's believable.

This suggests we have a kind of "hacking instinct" in our brain somewhere.

One way to think about EVERY invention is a hack, a way to spend less time and effort to get the same result.

Or how to better use ANYTHING in our environment to get a better result.

Like in Karate Kid and Rocky.

This is good news.

Because since this really IS an instinct, we CAN figure out a way to hack our way around anything.

This DOES NOT mean there are shortcuts.

Wax on wax off is a fantastic hack, but it is NOT a shortcut.

The kid still had to do that simple movement a kajillion times.

Rocky STILL had to lift up boulders and drag his friends around.

But you still can hack your way into many useful skills.

Like interpersonal communication, and creating a dominating social presence.

Without ever really needing to practice those skills.

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