God never gives a hard time to simple-minded people.

It’s often shallow and the temptation is often even greater for smart people, who start the race and leave everyone else behind, but are often the first ones out of the race.

People of mediocre talent tend to achieve more. An example of this is Guo Jing in Jin Yong’s novel. He was simple, honest, but he knew how to work hard, and he knew how to draw the line between good and evil. He was a simple and simple man, but he knew how to work hard, and was able to grasp the boundaries between good and evil. If it weren’t for the setbacks and drastic changes in his temperament, he would have eventually disappeared into obscurity.

One of the ideas that runs through Jin Yong’s novel is the Taoist idea of abandoning the sacred. When I was in school, I played a computer game called “The Legend of the Golden Mean”. The plot of the game is that a Jin Yong fan suddenly falls into the virtual world and has to experience the dangers of the rivers and lakes before he can return to the real world. At the beginning of the game, the “little shrimp” scratches his head and says, “I have no other choice than to “Wildball Fist”? I don’t know any kung fu. This “Wildball Fist” is probably the Taiwanese word for… It means “hitting wildly”.

The interesting design of the game is that if you choose to practice this “Wild Ball Fist”, you will have the hardest time practicing it, and you won’t be able to improve your attack power for a long time. However, at the tenth highest level, the power of this “Wild Ball Fist” will exceed “Jiu-Yang Sutra” and “Eighteen Palms of the Dragon”. “.

This little philosophical design has stuck with me. In the real world of academia, as I have seen all too often, the smart may not win out in the end, knowing that persistence is the final winner. Like martial arts, talent is important, but it’s more important to work hard. Without enough effort, learning cannot be done. It’s often shallow and the temptation is often more for smart people, who start the race and leave everyone else behind, but are often the first ones out of the race.

More complex than learning is life and society. What is the optimal rule for surviving in society? I believe that these laws are still those oldest and simplest truths. Like honesty, hard work, forgiveness, and cooperation. I look at the movie Forrest Gump as a fable. Forrest Gump had an IQ of 75, which is almost like being an idiot. His favorite phrase is “My mom says ……”. Forrest Gump’s girlfriend told him to run in the face of danger, and to run as fast as you can. That’s how Forrest Gump saved his life in Vietnam, and became a hero. In terms of what is commonly understood as success, Forrest Gump is successful. He was rich, respected, and had a varied life experience. When all of this came to pass, though, Forrest Gump was blissfully unaware of it.

Forrest Gump’s girlfriend, Jenny, took a different path. Their generation thinks they’re smart enough to confront society and subvert convention, and everything Jenny does seems to be a search for extreme boundaries: she gets kicked out of college, goes to Playboy magazine, strips, wanders, does drugs, and is anti-war. But in the end, she’s touched and bleeds, quietly returns to Forrest Gump, and quietly dies of AIDS. These two paths of Forrest Gump and Jenny prove once again that God never makes it hard for simple-minded people.

The recipe for success must meet two conditions.

First, it must be applicable to everyone. If the secret of success is that only the king’s son can succeed, such a secret is meaningless. All people, even the not-so-bright-headed like Forrest Gump and Guo Jing, can only be counted as good tips if they follow a certain rule and succeed in the end.

Second, it must be topsy-turvy. In economic terms, a successful knack must be “robust”. The change of dynasties, the passage of time, the change of institutions, should not have a disruptive impact on these basic rules. In other words, the rule must be the result of repeated games of generations, rather than the product of a one-time game.

The mathematician and political scientist Axelord once had a famous experiment. He invited a number of academics to write down the rule that everyone had in mind for the best competition to win, and translated it into a computer program that was fed into the computer so that each computer could simulate the competition with different rules. The winning rule was called “tit-for-tat”. . This strategy consists of (1) if others do not deceive, they never deceive themselves; (2) if others deceive, immediately punish the deceiver; and (3) if the deceiver repents, immediately forgive it and return to the path of cooperation.

According to Axelord’s explanation, this strategy is successful both because it is benevolent, because it never actively deceives and is forgiving, and because it is simple, because only simple rules can give your opponent an accurate understanding of your actions and motives.

Interestingly, among the academics invited by Axelord, several economists gave alternative strategies that were more “evil”, i.e., more likely to actively betray. Many rules are eliminated because they are too complex. Complicated rules are hard to enforce. Lying is a complex rule, and in order to lie, you have to tell new lies, and eventually the lies become incredibly complex. As Mark. Twain said, the good thing about telling the truth is that you don’t have to bother remembering what you’ve said before.

Tell that to a young person, and a lot of smart ones will stare at them with big, suspicious eyes: if the secret to success is this easy, isn’t everyone going to be successful? Therefore, they concluded that the secret to success must be something even more surreptitious, like thick black science. Ironically, there are still very, very few people who follow this path, which is why there are very, very few people who succeed. Forrest Gump’s mother said it best: “Stupid is only as stupid does” (Stupid is as stupid does).