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The Music Of Civilization VI

I’ve always thought that if I hadn’t been a neurologist, I would’ve chosen to become a historian instead. 

Therefore it’s hardly surprising that my favourite game on the planet is Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. It even has Oxford University as one of the wonders, although I reckon none of us here can be compared to Mr. Toad:

“The clever men at Oxford…know all that there is to be knowed. But they none of them know one half as much…As intelligent Mr. Toad!”

Kenneth Grahame

Sure, I had enjoyed many other games as well. I spent hours playing WWE Smackdown during SPM week back in 2001. During my undergraduate days, I probably spent more time leveling up my Undead Warlock in World of Warcraft than writing essays on anatomy or physiology. But the Civilization series is different. It doesn’t force you to keep playing when you don’t really have time. Unless you’re in a multiplayer game (which I’ve never tried), the game is perfectly happy for you to spend as long as you like on a single turn. None of that frenzied shooting and jumping around commonly found on games like Fortnite or PUBG or whatever the hell it is kids play these days. Get off my lawn!

Anyway, where was I?

Ah yes, the reason I mentioned Civilization VI is because I am fascinated by how much work goes into crafting a masterpiece like this. In particular, the music in Civilization VI is top notch. I still get this tingling sensation when the main menu appears and the music starts. For those of you curious about what it sounds like, here’s a YouTube video of the composer Christopher Tin conducting the world premiere of “Sogno di Volare”, the theme song for Civilization VI:

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Notes On Notes

Like many people who are interested in the productivity sphere, I am always on the lookout for a better app/website to help me organise my life.

And like many of us discover sooner or later, I often end up spending more time learning how to use a shiny new piece of software vs. actually doing the important tasks I had planned.

I mean, why bother being productive when you can spend hours setting up intricate new planning systems in Evernote, Todoist, or Notion instead? The curse of perfectionism strikes again! I knew I had to go back to basics, so that’s what I did.

Nowadays I mostly rely on a combination of the standard-issue Notes and Calendar apps, with a sprinkling of OmniFocus for productivity-ninja type of stuff. I’ll write more about this setup in the future, but in the meantime, here’s a preview of what my Notes app looks like:

The emojis are there to make the app more pleasant to use. Don’t judge me!

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Hello World

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh,

Welcome to my blog.

Ever since I first dabbled with HTML in 2004, I have tried many times to keep a blog going without much (read:any) success. The main reason for this is my desire to wait until an article is perfect, whatever that means, before publishing it online. To this day, I have various articles half-written and scattered all over the place because I wasn’t confident enough that anyone would want to read them.

In short, I had fallen into the trap of aiming for perfection, not progress.

Striving for perfection is a worthy goal, but not at the expense of making incremental progress as that is how everyone learns any new skill. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear describes how a class of film photography students are divided into two groups:

  1. Quantity: To be given a grade based on how many photos they had submitted by the final day of class.
  2. Quality: Judged purely on the excellence of their work. Although they only had to submit one photo during the semester, it had to be nearly perfect in order for them to get an A.

Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, all the best photos came from the Quantity group.

Now obviously the real situation is more nuanced than that, but the story above illustrates a very important point: you get better at something not by thinking about it, but by doing it. Or to put it more crudely, loser plan, winners execute.

In the interest of not being a loser, I have decided to finish writing and publish all these semi-completed articles in my collection. The one nod to perfectionism I’ll make is to change their publication dates close to when they first appeared in my mind. This article, for example, was originally crafted in December 2019 with a view to making it a New Year’s Day post, so I’m just going to set its publication date to 1 January 2020. I hope you will excuse this time-bending experiment of mine.