Weekly I/O #16

Time and Moments, Nasal Breath, Certainty is Absurd, Puppy Dog Close, Genius’s Hardship

Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維
4 min readMar 20, 2021

Weekly I/O is a project where I share my learning Input/Output. Every Sunday, I write an email newsletter with five things I discovered and learned that week.

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The below is extracted from the email sent on Mar 14, 2021.

1. Makes the distinction between Time and Moments. Remembering Time, that line connecting all the moments, is rather painful.


In The Museum of Innocence in Çukurcuma, Istanbul, Orhan Pamuk, the author of the eponymous novel, display these words on the first floor on the wall.

Aristotle makes the distinctions between time and single moments. Remembering time can be pretty heavy and sometimes depressing. Instead of viewing moments in the context named time, we can remember moments regardless of where they located on the timeline. Therefore, remembering the moments can be a better way to cherish memories. In the scope of moments, there’s no such thing like “I spent too many years on him/her”.

Special thanks to Lisa Lin for sharing her thoughts and the photo she took in the museum with me when I mentioned a concept related to time in Weekly I/O #14.

2. The importance of how to breathe is underestimated. Slow and easy nasal breathing can have a huge positive impact on our body.

Podcast: James Nestor: The Lost Art of Breath | Chase Jarvis Live Show

We take approximately 26,000 breaths per day. But we seem to not put much attention to how we complete our breath (through mouth or nose, heavy or light, deep or shallow).

James Nestor, the author of the book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, stated that nasal breathing can have significant downstream effects on our health, autoimmune disease, snoring and even athletic performance. When we breathe through our nose, we filter, heat, and moisten the air, which increases the amount of absorbed oxygen by 10 to 15% with less irritation.

A way to practice nasal breathing is to use a small piece of tape over the mouth when sleeping to force nasal breathing. You can even buy all kinds of mouth tape for sleep online. Let me know if you have tried or want to try.

3. “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” — Voltaire


Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the contemporary thinker that influences the way I think the most, wrote in his book Fooled by Randomness (also one of my favorite books!) that “I believe that the principal asset I need to protect and cultivate is my deep-seated intellectual insecurity”. His motto is “my principal activity is to tease those who take themselves and the quality of their knowledge too seriously”.

Cultivating intellectual insecurity instead of intellectual confidence seems to be a strange aim, but sometimes intellectual confidence leads to being certain about things, which is almost always absurd.

Intellectual insecurity is not easy to implement. Therefore, we need to practice purging our minds of the recent tradition of intellectual certainties.

4. The Puppy Dog Close: let them take the pup home first and say bring it back if they change their mind.

Book: The 4-Hour Workweek

In the book The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss introduced this term as “The Puppy Dog Close in sales is so named because it is based on the pet store sales approach: If someone likes a puppy but is hesitant to make the life-altering purchase, just offer to let them take the pup home and bring it back if they change their minds. Of course, the return seldom happens. The Puppy Dog Close is invaluable whenever you face resistance to permanent changes. Get your foot in the door with a “let’s just try it once” reversible trial.”

In sales, The Puppy Dog Close can be generalized as letting customers take the product home on a trial basis first. Nevertheless, in the book, Tim Ferriss further used this technique and elaborated how he negotiated with his manager to avoid attending most of the meetings in the company, which he thinks are just a waste of time.

He said things like “Can I sit out just for today? I’d be distracted in the meeting otherwise. I promise I’ll catch up afterward by reviewing the meeting with Colleague X. Is that OK?” He persuaded his manager to “let’s just try it once” and proved that nothing bad actually happened. Therefore, he then repeated this routine and ensured that he achieved more outside of the meeting than the attendees did within it.

I first learned the term in the book, but you can also learn more about this in the article Model the ‘Puppy-Dog Close’ Technique.

5. “People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don’t realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world.” — Bill Watterson


I’m fortunate to not have the ability to feel this kind of annoyance. 🥳

That’s it. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy it. If you would like to receive the content every Sunday, sign up below 😎



Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維

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