Editor's Letter

Hope you’re doing great this February! Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been up to in February.

The past few months have been really hectic for us. So this month, we decided to take our foot off the gas, so that we can take a step back and think about the direction that we want to steer Thoughtworthy towards.

(Also happening this month: oddly muted Lunar New Year celebrations and reservist duties for Glo. No wonder it’s a slow month for Thoughtworthy!)

If you had signed up for our newsletters before February 2021, you would probably be familiar with the name Thoughtworthy Quarterly or TQ. But, we’re getting rid of the Q, and we’ll be calling it the Thoughtworthy Mag from now.

The kind of videos that we want Thoughtworthy to be remembered for takes a ton of time and thought to produce. A slow month like this made it really clear to us that we have to find ways to increase the frequency of our content, or we risk being forgotten (or at least sorely missed) by even our most ardent supporters.

And the way for us to increase our output of content without negatively affecting the quality of our main video content, is by writing more!

So, here’s how we imagine the new Thoughtworthy Mag is going to work. At the beginning of every month, we’ll be releasing a cover art like what you see on this page. On it, you’ll get an idea of the kind of topics that you can look forward to for the month. The individual emails should then reach your inbox on a weekly basis.

Our goal has always been to produce content that shares stories and ideas about living a healthy, happy and homely life. Thoughtworthy Mag is a space for us to create written word content, free from the constraints and bottlenecks of video production. So expect a wide range of topics to be covered!

Enjoy the rest of Thoughtworthy Mag (Feb 2021). Hope y’all are staying safe out there. Speak again soon!

What We Get Wrong About Exercise

If you have watched some of our videos on health and fitness, you may have heard our catchphrase “eat well, move more, worry less”. The Move More portion in our philosophy doesn’t necessarily refer to simply working out more. Instead, it takes a more holistic view on an active lifestyle: not just working out with more volume, but also moving with more regularity and variety in our day-to-day life.

Recently, we came across an article that posed a number of intriguing questions about the conventional understanding of health and fitness. The article is based on an interview with Daniel Lieberman, a professor in the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard, and we concur with much of his findings and ideas (he’s an expert after all). Here are some key takeaways from the piece, along with our thoughts.

Exercise is Unnecessary? (Well, Not Exactly!)

Many of us have come to accept the idea that we should be exercising regularly for good health. And “exercising” means spending an hour a day, most days a week, pushing weights at the gym, running on a treadmill or sweating it out at a yoga class, etc. But how did people get fit and healthy then, before the fitness industry was invented?

"When I go to these [remote African tribal] villages, I'm the only person who gets up in the morning and goes for a run. And often they laugh at me. They think I'm just absolutely bizarre. ... Why would anybody do something like that?"

Daniel Lieberman

We first pondered this question years ago, by the introduction of a concept called Blue Zones. Blue Zones are regions of the world where people live longer than normal, usually well into the 100’s on average. In other words, these are the healthiest people in the world!

People in these parts of the world tend to lead slower-paced lives that are not (yet) pervaded by many of our modernities. While they’re constantly active — think tending to farms or out fishing at sea — most of them have probably never exercised for the sake of exercising like we do, because it simply wasn’t necessary.

For most of us, the modern lifestyle has become undeniably sedentary. So “exercise” was the solution we came up with; essentially, it’s medicine designed to combat the superficial symptoms of said sedentariness. Workouts tend to be prescribed just like medicine too. Three sets of ten reps, two times a week! Twenty minutes on the treadmill, three times a week!

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that there’s no need for people to exercise, or that we should forget about doing structured workout routines – not at all. But, we believe there’s a lot to learn from the indigenous hunter-gatherers that Prof. Lieberman has spent so much time studying, or the healthy, happy folks from the world’s Blue Zones.

Move with more regularity. Move with more variety. It’s simpler than we think!

“There's all different kinds of physical activity, and it's all good in different ways.”

Daniel Lieberman

Sitting is a Problem. The Solution Isn't to Not Sit.

The article also touches on a number of other topics regarding physical activity. Here are two more noteworthy quotes by Prof. Lieberman:

"It's not unnatural or strange or weird to sit a lot, but it is problematic if, of course, that's all you do."

Daniel Lieberman

"Interrupted sitting, as well as not sitting in a chair that's kind of nestling your body and preventing you from using any muscles, all that kind of keeps your muscles going and turns out to be a much healthier way to sit."

Daniel Lieberman

Very familiar! These ideas are basically the foundations behind our decision to set up floor desks in our office.

If you’re interested in reading the full article or listening to the entire interview with Prof. Lieberman, check out this link.

Our Favorite TV Shows of 2020!

Apart from eating, catching up on movies and TV shows is our favorite past-time together. As video creators, we prefer to think of the time we spent on the couch (bean bags in our case) as essential “research” required to improve on our work. And, we’re proud to say that in 2020, we’ve done quite a bit of “research”.

We believe that many of you probably have also spent more time at home in 2020 than in the years before. That means that you’re likely to have spent more time watching shows, and it’s a trend that’s set to continue in 2021. So hopefully, you’ll find something new from this list that’s worth watching, for those times that you’re stuck at home!

Our pick, if you're looking for something intense...

Dark (Season 3)

We’ve heard great things about this German series (first released in 2017) for some time, but the abstract cover art and marketing material just never intrigued us enough to give it a shot. But we’re so glad that we finally did! We actually started watching this in 2021, and binged watched all 3 seasons at record pace – just in time for it to make this list.

There’s no recency bias here, this show is just so mind-blowingly good. Shows about time travel is always tricky, as it’s easy to find loopholes and flaws in the plot. But in the case of Dark, at some point you just stop trying to spot mistakes in the story as you become convinced that the writers are from the future. Just enjoy the ride!

(There’s an interactive, incredibly complicated family tree on their website. Check it out after you’ve watched the show to avoid spoilers.)

What We Liked: Casting was on point, acting was phenomenal. Impeccable plot and storytelling. Amazing, haunting soundtrack.

Problems: Left us itching for the next episode EVERY SINGLE TIME. Have to constantly remember to pick our jaws up from the floor.

If you're looking for something more light-hearted...

Sex Education (Season 2)

We headed into the first season of Sex Education just for laughs, expecting a cliché, coming-of-age story. We were so wrong!

Season 2 of Sex Education continued to build on the endearing and hilarious foundation of the first season. This show isn’t just corny comedy, it’s a comedy-drama. While the comedy of Sex Education is excellent, it’s the drama that stole the show.

The story is relatable and heartwarming. The acting is impressive. Film-making and storytelling is top-notch. It’s not a show that we were expecting to love, yet here we are, eagerly awaiting the next season.

What We Liked: A refreshing take on the genre. Impressive performance from the cast. One moment it makes you laugh, another, it makes you cry; and it’s all utterly enjoyable.

Problems: Reminds us that we’re “old” (relative). Have to turn down the volume during certain scenes, or risk awkward misunderstandings with the neighbors (the walls of our apartment building can be a little thin).

Honorable Mentions:

Better Call Saul (Season 5)

We’re huge fans of the original Breaking Bad. In fact, it’s arguably Glo’s favorite series of all time. We would never have thought that this spin-off/prequel would be this good!

If not for Dark’s last second intervention, and the fact that Better Call Saul has not yet concluded, the 5th season of this wonderful series would have taken top spot for our favorite show of 2020.

The Last Dance

Glo is a huge sports fan, so this was naturally right up his alley. But surprisingly, HL was hooked on this documentary too, despite knowing practically NOTHING about Michael Jordan and the legendary Chicago Bulls team.

This series is an interesting peek into the mentality and mindset of one of the greatest and most iconic athlete in the history of sports.

The Queen's Gambit

The breakout Netflix hit of 2020. We thoroughly enjoyed this one-season wonder, but felt that it just lacked the depth of some of the other series on this list.