Working Out

March 24th, 2021

Sometimes, things don’t work out the way we want them to
Sometimes, things don’t work out the way we plan them
Sometimes, things don’t work out in our timeline
Doesn’t mean they don’t work out

Comparison is the thief of joy and the enemy of gratitude
Trust the process
Trust the journey
Soak up all you can from this moment
Because before you know it, you’ll be “there”

And the idea of “there” is often more perfect than “there” itself
Because the idea of “there” is not as real
And our imagination has a pesky little habit of expecting perfection from the future
When the future shows up, we realize it’s quite possibly just as imperfect as the present
Doesn’t make it any less beautiful

Let’s Talk About Game Theory

Hello beautiful reader,

Today, I want to discuss one of my favorite topics: Game Theory.

According to dictionary.com, the definition of game theory is:

noun
a mathematical theory that deals with strategies for maximizing gains and minimizing losses within prescribed constraints, as the rules of a card game: widely applied in the solution of various decision-making problems, as those of military strategy and business policy.

I first saw game theory in action in one of my favorite tv shows, Prison Break. If you’ve never watched Prison Break, I highly recommend it. Spoiler alert: Michael Scofield, the main character, never ceased to amaze me with his ability to not only see multiple steps ahead, but his ability to account for different pathways to his desired result. Every time things didn’t go according to plan, he’d find the next best way to still get what he wanted. It was fascinating to watch. But, at the time, because I didn’t understand how he did what he did, I just assumed his ability to plan so well was just an unattainable, mysterious gift.

However, during my senior year of high school, I took an economics class where I learned about a principle called game theory. I instantly fell in love with this concept.

Our teacher helped us practice game theory by teaching us how to play chess and making us act out the Prisoners’ Dilemma.

For those who don’t know what the Prisoner’s Dilemma is, here’s a pretty cool graphic illustrating the rules of the exercise:

So, in this economics class, our teacher paired us up three separate times with three different partners for three rounds of the exercise. Needless to say, I betrayed my partner every time.

A few years later, in one of my college classes, I learned about the Ultimatum Game. This one is even more fun. All you need is two players and one (optionally hypothetical) fifty-dollar bill. The rules are as follows:

  • Player 1 proposes how the two will split the money.
  • Then, Player 2 can either accept or reject said proposal.
    • If Player 2 accepts the proposal, that is how the money will be split.
    • However, if Player 2 rejects the proposal, the fifty-dollar bill is taken off the table and neither player gets any money.

Naturally, it would make sense for Player 1 to propose a 50/50 split, but some people take advantage of the rules and might propose something more drastic like a 90/10 split. It is, then, up to Player 2 to decide what is more important to them: their pride or taking home five dollars they didn’t have before.

Alternatively, in an attempt to ensure they walk away with money, Player A might go the opposite, equally drastic route and propose something like a 10/90 split. In which case, Player 2 would have every reason to accept the offer.

In Round 2, the game resets and players switch roles.

How does it work?

Although the more flashy and seemingly impressive examples of game theory do require quite a bit of planning and research, we all already utilize game theory in our daily lives whether we know it or not.

Some examples of utilizing game theory in our daily lives include:

  • Playing tic-tac-toe
  • Waiting for the right moment or waiting until your boss or parents are in a good mood to ask for something you really want, knowing that they are more likely to be receptive when they are in a good mood.
  • Purposely omitting certain information while making an argument, knowing that the other person might use said omitted information to invalidate or weaken your argument.
  • When asking for something you want, leading with why it would be beneficial for the person you are asking rather than leading with why it would be beneficial to yourself.

We all do this without realizing just how strategic it is. Some of us might have even been particularly mischievous children who have been utilizing game theory for a while without realizing it.

Knowing what you want out of a situation and approaching it with your end goal in mind helps you create a malleable road map to get there. On the way to your goal, you become sensitive to and responsive to the other party’s concerns, wants and whims. As a result, practicing game theory helps you practice empathy.

What I love so much about game theory is how it can be used for good. Not just personal good, but the greater good.

If you would like to learn more about Game Theory, there are plenty of other sources out there including, but not limited to, YouTube videos such as Game Theory: The Science of Decision-Making, Game theory: Two key principles for winning negotiations | Kevin Zollman, Evolutionary game theory | Individuals and Society | MCAT | Khan Academy

I also HIGHLY recommend a more recent example of a show with a protagonist who masterfully utilizes game theory: Lupin.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever purposely utilized game theory? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you have a lovely day!

Until next time,

M

Let’s Talk About the Method of Loci (Mind Palace Technique) & Mnemonics Devices

Hello beautiful reader,

Today, I want to discuss a topic that has helped me Ace (and Bce?) exams and give spectacular presentations (if you don’t take into account my fear of public speaking).

That topic is called The Method of Loci or, as it’s more commonly referred to, the Mind Palace Technique.

According to dictionary.com, the definition of mnemonic [ ni-mon-ik ] is:

adjective
1. assisting or intended to assist the memory.
2. pertaining to mnemonics or to memory.

I first learned about mnemonic devices when I was in third grade. I was cramming for a quiz on famous inventors and my mom taught me how to draw connections between what I needed to remember and what I already knew. We spent the whole car ride to school making up silly mnemonic devices for each famous inventor. For example, I still remember Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone because we said, “Graham Bell” like it was a landline ringtone.

A mind palace is like that mnemonic device’s big cousin. You might have seen a Mind Palace being used on Sherlock by Sherlock himself:

A clip from “Sherlock” episode, “The Hound of Baskerville”.

I remember watching this episode in my high school English class after we finished reading The Hound of the Baskervilles and I was enamored. This was the first time I had ever heard of a mind palace, so I did some research and started implementing it whenever I could.

So, what is it?

As Watson said, a mind palace is a location that you can construct and store in your mind. This might be a bit easier for visual or kinesthetic learners, but I do think it is beneficial for anyone who wants to give it a try. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what the location can look like. For example, you can reconstruct a location you know well from your real life (ie: your childhood home, your elementary school, your local park, etc.) or you can create a completely imaginary location that doesn’t even exist in real life. It’s all up to you.

Once you’ve constructed your mind palace, you can revisit it as often as you want to store information, retrieve information or just spend time getting acquainted with your mind palace.

How does it work?

  • Here are some of the ways I have used my mind palace in the past:
    • Exams
      • When studying for exams in college, I would color-code (via highlighters, colored pens & post-it notes) the topics I knew would be on the exam.
      • I would write down everything I needed to know by mapping it all out on a giant poster board. This step helped me make sure I understood how all of the concepts interacted with each other by being able to see it all together, visually.
      • Now, for the fun part. Each color would have a designated room in my mind palace. So, at this point, I would take the time to populate each room with essential mnemonic devices. These mnemonic devices would usually be in the form of outlandish visuals so they could really stick. Sometimes, I would add sounds to my mind palace as well.
      • After decorating my mind palace, I would walk through it multiple times before my exam, making sure I knew what each mnemonic device meant.
    • Public Speaking/Presentations
      • From my experience, when you need to remember something sequentially such as a speech, it helps to create a route through your mind palace. This way, you can just walk along the route rather than having to search.
      • This comes in handy, especially, if you want to remember to use specific terms or buzzwords that are not normally a part of your vocabulary.
      • In these instances, it looks like I’m looking at the audience, but the truth is I’m walking through my mind palace, making sure I say what I’ve rehearsed.

Where does it work?

Anywhere! That’s why I love it so much. As Sherlock did, you can visit your mind palace anywhere at any time. But, unlike Sherlock, maybe be a bit more discreet if you are in public.

If you would like to learn more information about the Method of Loci or mnemonic devices in general, there are plenty of other sources out there including, but not limited to, YouTube videos such as The Memory Palace : Can You Do It?, Memory hack: Derren Brown teaches the method of loci | Big Think and How to Use the Loci Technique | Memory Techniques.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever used mnemonic devices? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you have a lovely day!

Until next time,

M

February Favorites

Hello beautiful reader!

It’s a new month! You know what that means? A new list of favorites! That and a reminder that you don’t have to wait for New Year’s Day for a fresh start. Every moment can be a chance to better yourself.

The latter is more of a personal matter. I can’t really help you too much with that, but as for the former, I’m your girl. So, without further ado, here are my February favorites.

  • Food that Made Me Smile
    • Yuca Fries
    • Grilled Onions
      • Specifically, the next time you bake chicken, throw some raw onions in the pan. The onions grilled in the chicken broth are amazing.
    • Homemade Stovetop French Onion Soup
      • Grill some onions and drop them in beef broth. Throw some asiago cheese on top and toss some croutons in there. For the icing on the cake, serve the dish with some French bread on the side.
  • Artists
    • YouTube commentary channels
      • The Take because I am a self-proclaimed film buff. If you enjoy dissecting shows, movies and commonly used tropes, I highly recommend.
      • Khadija Mbowe‘s videos really feel like visual research papers in the most exciting way possible. I’ve learned so much from watching her videos.
      • Tee Noir
      • Dangelo Wallace
  • Film/TV Shows
  • Music

What are your February Favorites? Let me know in the comments.

I hope you have a lovely day.

With love,

M

My January Favorites

Hello beautiful reader,

Happy new year to those I have yet to speak to for the new year. Today, I come bearing gifts in the form of recommendations!

  • Food
    • Homemade Breakfast Sandwich
      • homemade biscuit
      • homemade turkey sausage
      • eggs over-easy (as well-done as you’d prefer)
      • spinach sautéed with feta cheese and onions, seasoned to taste (dare I say, the secret ingredient)
      • mayo and/or avocado
      • mustard
      • hot sauce (optional, but recommended)
    • Homemade Turkey Burger
      • pretzel hamburger buns
      • homemade turkey patty
      • spinach sautéed with feta cheese and onions, seasoned to taste (AGAIN, dare I say, the secret ingredient)
      • mayo and/or avocado
      • mustard
      • hot sauce (yep. optional, but recommended)
      • ketchup
    • Homemade Spanakopita
      • puff pastry dough
      • spinach sautéed with feta cheese and onions, seasoned to taste (okay, I’m seeing a pattern here.)

Basically, my food favorite is sautéed spinach and feta cheese. You can put it on most things. Thank me later.

  • Film (TV and Movies)
    • TV
      • Once Upon a Time (a rewatch) – 4/5 stars
        • As much as I have recommended this show to my parents over the years, neither of them had watched this show prior to quarantine. But as I’m sure many of you know, there is only so much to binge-watch until you finally happen upon that show you said you’d probably never watch. They loved it by the way.
        • Representation Check: Um. As the show goes on and as the writers expand the show’s world, we get more diversity. Be patient with this one.
      • Bridgerton – 4/5 stars
        • This show is doing something different and doing it pretty well. If you have yet to watch Bridgerton, I highly recommend doing so. 1 season, 8 episodes, that’s less than a day’s worth of binging!
        • Representation Check: It’s set in the regency era, but utilizes historical fiction to have quite a diverse cast, which, of course, I appreciated. Were there some slightly problematic undertones regarding colorism? Sure. However, all in all, I really appreciated the representation in this show. And the fact that Bridgerton just became Netflix’s most-watched series ever feels like a step forward in proving that viewers actually want to see diversity on screen.
    • Movies
      • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – 5/5 stars
        • Comedic gold and a pretty fun spy movie too.
        • Representation Check: I’ll give them a pass because it’s set in 1960’s Europe during The Cold War and…yeah. Still a great movie though.
  • Music
    • The Olivia/Sofia situation:
    • Why Don’t We (the band) came out with a new album this month. Some of my favorite songs from it are:
    • PRETTYMUCH (the band) also dropped an EP this month. My favorite songs from it are:

I’d love to know what your December/January favorites were. Let me know in the comments!

Have a lovely day!

With love,

M

Things to Do if You Don’t Want to Think About the Election

Happy (hopefully) Election Day!

GIF courtesy of giphy.com

I know this is a stressful day for a lot of people. We’ve voted, we’ve done everything we can do and now, we wait.

Some of us will wait by keeping our eyes glued to the TV with the news stations playing for the next 24 hours. Some of us will wait by avoiding the stress and going to sleep early tonight. Some of us will wait by periodically taking breaks from the stress and focusing on something else entirely until the winner is announced.

I am in the latter camp and for those who want to take breaks and are looking to focus on something else until the winner is announced, I’ve got some solid suggestions for you.

  • For the New Film Buffs:
    • Inception
      • Okay, hear me out. I know this movie came out a decade ago, but I do believe it was ahead of its time. I remember trying to watch it when I was younger and just being bored and confused. I just didn’t get it back then. HOWEVER, I watched it the other night, and it’s amazing. It’s genius! I think we, as a society, have developed a more intelligent taste in entertainment in the past ten years. So, if you found it a bit confusing the first time you saw it, I highly suggest giving it a second chance.
  • For the Readers:
  • For the Binge Watchers:
    • Selling Sunset
      • I watched all three seasons in two days. It was great. I don’t normally watch reality shows, but the personalities on the show were fascinating. Honestly, if you’re a fan of psychology or sociology, I recommend because it’s really cool to watch everyone interact and form cliques and how different people handle confrontation and react to being called out.

I hope this helps.

Remember to stay aware, but also to look out for your blood pressure levels.

an Inception reference

GIF courtesy of giphy.com

With love,

M

4 Ways To Travel The World Without Leaving Your House

So, you love the idea of traveling more than the act of traveling. You love the idea of learning about new cultures, but you’re hesitant about stepping out of your comfort zone. If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place!

  1. Learn a new language!
    1. Something I’ve learned from Damon and Jo is you can learn a lot about a culture by learning a language spoken in that culture.
  2. Try a different culture’s cuisine!
    1. Order In! Try that hole-in-the-wall restaurant your cousin keeps telling you about or the place that would always catch your eye when you used to drive past it on your way home from work.
    2. If you’ve been refraining from ordering takeout due to the pandemic because you’re a bit wary of other people preparing your food, you can also try making a different culture’s cuisine at home!
      1. Disclaimer: Just remember that your rendition shouldn’t weigh too heavily on your first impression of that particular dish.
  3. Watch a foreign film!
    1. Seeing a different place through the eyes of the people who actually live there is much different than watching most travel vlogs.
      1. You can live vicariously through travel vlogs, but if you want a more immersive and educational experience from a different perspective than your own, you should watch a foreign film.
  4. Keep your eyes peeled for local virtual events!
    1. Most universities (& cities) host cultural events, partially to maintain a sense of community amongst the group being represented, but a byproduct of these events is they help educate other people.

GIF courtesy of giphy.com

Whatever you choose to do, remember to have fun while, of course, being respectful of other cultures.

Until next time,

Morgan


Where to Find Me:

Instagram.com/bymorganpeace

Pinterest.com/bymorganpeace

“Chrysalis” – Chapter 5

Click here to listen to this post’s playlist while you read 🙂

Without further ado, here is “Chrysalis” – Chapter 5.

“There is no place like home.” – L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

She allowed the blue hallway to guide her as the man in the purple suit’s words began to echo in her mind.

She walked and walked until she happened upon a door, a door that looked an awful lot like her front door.

She opened it, excited to be home.

The beginning.

Thanks for reading “Chrysalis” – Chapter 5!

I hope you enjoyed this story. Let me know your thoughts on it all in the comments!

Chapter 5 Moodboard

Photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

“Chrysalis” – Chapter 4

Click here to listen to this post’s playlist while you read 🙂

Without further ado, here is “Chrysalis” – Chapter 4.

“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” – The White Rabbit (Alice in Wonderland)

The girl set out to find what she sought most: where she belonged.

She quickened her pace, excited to see where the road was leading her until she encountered a fork in the road, a new decision to be made. A towering tree stood before her, separating the road in two.

The road to her left was worn and tattered while the road to her right looked pristine. She felt a pull to walk down the road that seemed less traveled, but stopped herself. She looked at her options again, realizing there were more than just two. She began to examine the tree until she noticed a branch that seemed unlike the others, so, naturally, she tugged at it. As she did, the tree disappeared and a staircase appeared in its place.

As she ascended the staircase, the darkness around her fell away. Her surroundings began to change, morph and shift into something all-together unrecognizable until it swiftly became something familiar: the blue hallway.

To be continued…

Thanks for reading “Chrysalis” – Chapter 4!

Let me know your thoughts on it all in the comments!

Chapter 4 Moodboard

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“Chrysalis” – Chapter 3

Click here to listen to this post’s playlist while you read 🙂

Without further ado, here is “Chrysalis” – Chapter 3.

“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
– J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)

The girl quickly turned around to see a door standing in the middle of her living room with a sign hanging on the doorknob that read, “Open me.”

And that she did.

She peeped through the open door and took note of two hallways, the one to her left was illuminated with red light and the one to her right was illuminated with blue light.

“Welcome!” She heard a voice echo from behind the door. She thought it might have been The White Rabbit’s voice, but the voice was deeper. The voice continued, “You can step inside. Close the door behind you.” A man dressed in a purple suit walked into view.

“Who are you?” She asked, still standing in her living room.

“I work for The White Rabbit.” He said, standing where the two hallways converge. “So, are you going to come in? There’s a draft.”

“Oh, sorry.” She stepped through the doorway, closing the door behind her.

The man in the purple suit continued, “You have a choice. The hallway on your left will help you find what you seek. The hallway on your right will take you back home. Which will it be?”

Yearning for adventure, she thought for a moment before saying, “The hallway on the left.”

“Go ahead. No one’s stopping you.” The man in the purple suit gestured towards the red hallway.

The girl walked past the man and through the hallway, allowing it to lead her until she happened upon a diner.

Upon entering the diner, she was met with unintelligible cheers, another person joining the party. The diner was filled with chatter, everyone talking, but not saying much.

She met a pretty boy at the party who gave her a pretty flower and said some pretty words, but she wasn’t buying it. She found it all very boring.

So, she went back the way she came, but when she opened the diner doors, the red hallway was gone. In its place, a yellow brick road appeared.

To be continued…

Thanks for reading “Chrysalis” – Chapter 3!

Let me know your thoughts on it all in the comments!

Chapter 3 Moodboard

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“Chrysalis” – Chapter 2

Click here to listen to this post’s playlist while you read 🙂

Without further ado, here is “Chrysalis” – Chapter 2.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” – Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

The girl began to have fun with her freedom and make great memories in the process. She also grew tremendously because she learned a very valuable lesson: She was capable of so much more than she thought she was capable of.

She was having so much fun, she nearly forgot about the darkness she had noticed years ago. That is until one day when she suddenly noticed it once again. But, this time was different. It was more noticeable this time around, more present, more isolating.

For a while, she wasn’t sure what to do about it. She couldn’t find the words to express what she was feeling, so she turned to art. She began spending her free time painting, not at all sure of what she was painting, so, as a result, not at all worried about messing up.

One night, as she was painting, her phone rang. She peaked at the caller ID which read, “The White Rabbit”. She had no idea who The White Rabbit was and she wasn’t sure what compelled her to answer the phone, but she picked it up and hesitantly said, “Hello?”

An amused voice answered through the phone, “Turn around.”

To be continued…

Thanks for reading “Chrysalis” – Chapter 2!

Let me know your thoughts on it all in the comments!

Chapter 2 Moodboard

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“Chrysalis” – Chapter 1

I thought I’d switch it up this week and tell you all a story that’s been resting on my heart and stored away in my mind (and on Pinterest) for about a year now.

Backstory: I originally planned for this story to be a more whimsical, slightly fictionalized, metaphorical companion piece to my book, Piece by Peace: A Collection of Musings, in the form of a visual album. However, due to the pandemic decreasing potential filming locations and the fact that my vision for this story drastically exceeds my budget, I’ve decided to try my hand at writing it out instead.

To make this story a bit more immersive, I’ve created a playlist for this post:

Click here to listen to this post’s playlist while you read 🙂

Without further ado, here is “Chrysalis” – Chapter 1.

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted. Bloom.” – Christine Caine

There once was a girl who could not wait to grow up because she was so excited about the freedom that came along with adulthood. She was neglecting the moments she was passing through as she rushed to get to adulthood, ready to take a break once she got there only to realize adulthood moved even faster.

It was only after her eighteenth birthday that she understood just how much she had taken for granted. She went from being a medium-sized fish in a small pond to being a guppy in the ocean. She began to get glimpses of everything adulthood entailed and she was afraid that she would have to change into a person she didn’t know.

She knew who she was as a child, but now that she was a grown-up, she thought the only way to become a real adult was to shed the parts of herself that made her child-like. She feared trading in her wonder and awe for having seen it all before, her imagination, what she could see with her heart, for what she could see with her eyes and her hope for “this is the way things have always been.”

She began to notice a darkness around her and she couldn’t tell if it was new or if it had always been there. She pleaded with Peter Pan, knowing she was too late. She was too old for Neverland. She’d slow down time if she could, but she told herself that wasn’t possible.

She didn’t understand why she was feeling this way, but she had faith and trusted that everything was happening for a reason. She knew she was exactly where she was meant to be.

So, she accepted what was. She even began to enjoy adulthood.

To be continued…

Thanks for reading “Chrysalis” – Chapter 1!

If you’re interested in seeing what my Pinterest board looks like, check out the section below for some of my notes.

Let me know your thoughts on it all in the comments!

Visuals that inspired this chapter:

Photo sources: caterpillar image, a seed being planted, swimming pool, a green forest, shattered rose-colored glasses