Essays on Chasing Black Swans

Chase Your Black Swans

A "black swan" is an unpredictable, outlier event that turns everything upside down.When you bring up the eponymous 2007 book by Taleb, most people tend to only remember black swans as negative and disastrous. (Like financial crises).But black swans can also be serendipitous events, leading to positive changes like... life-saving inventions, transcendent moments of artistic genius, breakthrough discoveries that forever alter the trajectory of the human race.You can take this concept down a notch to a personal level too. What's a dream you've carried since your youth -- that if achieved -- would provide asymmetrical rewards and utterly upend your life for the better? What's your "impossible" goal? The thing you got laughed at and shelved and forgot?I want to talk about those black swans. When was the last time you thought about your black swans?

Something Is Very Wrong

Right now, I'm seeing some of the best minds of our generation making "content" for algorithms, arguing with trolls, fighting bots. A.I. plagiarizing the hard work of creatives. Our smartest chasing crypto.We hustle. We grind. We exhaust ourselves into oblivion. And for what?I hit my 40s during the Pandemic. Summer of '22, I got COVID. And as I laid on the floor in my closet, trapped by an unbearable, blinding headache, unable to do anything but face my own existence (for the first time since my untethered twenties)...I began to ask the "big questions" again.  What did all this mean? This life I've built. This career I've chosen. Did I go after what I truly wanted out of life... or did I "play the game" the way they wanted me to?

We're Meant to Be More

Who are we even? Have we forgotten ourselves?Consider this: Your brain has 86 billion neurons firing at speeds faster than F1 race cars. Instead of 1s and 0s, you have 3,000 distinct types of brain cells to encode data. Altogether, you have one quadrillion bytes of storage capacity.And all this runs on just 12 watts. (That's less energy than what a CFL lightbulb needs!)This beautiful, unapologetically powerful organ between your ears is truly a thing of wonder: it can compose symphonies, smash atoms, design skyscrapers, invent languages, edit genomes... create worlds.You were made to build, to create, to dream. When did we give up? Who told us to play it safe? And why did we listen?

What Is Osmosis?

Osmosis is an ongoing collection of short, quick essays written by me, Colin Y.J. Chung, (and sometimes by friends) as we explore the themes of creativity, discernment, resilience, courage, and expression... the tools needed to chase black swans.Osmosis is about going after those dreams we put off, avoided, and deferred. Willingly stepping into the chaos and uncertainty again. Doing it in spite of the high failure rate, knowing full well the end goal is an "impossibility", and it's out of our control.To be clear, Osmosis is my personal exploration on the above themes. I do not claim to be an authority on any of this. I'm simply sharing what I learn on my own personal journey.

Who Am I?

I'm a co-founder of Plural Inc., a portfolio of businesses that include Plural Healthcare (a mental health IOP based in St. Louis), a marketing agency, and a digital media company.Based in the suburbs of Vancouver B.C., I'm a father of three monsters, I speak pop culture fluently, and I'm currently obsessed with 16th C. history (the Renaissance & Reformation) for my own black swan: becoming a published novelist.A lot of my writing for Osmosis will be about that journey -- getting good at the craft of storytelling, writing fiction, and honing my creative process, while balancing my other responsibilities. #adultingishard

What You'll Get

Osmosis "micro-essays" will arrive in your inbox Mondays to Fridays. They will be about 250-400 words. My goal is to share one idea, or one insight, or a piece of inspiration each issue. Something I found that helped me with chasing my black swan... and hopefully with you and yours as well.Now, there's a "secret agenda" to Osmosis: I don't see it as a "newsletter" so much as a directory of interesting people doing interesting things. Through Osmosis, I hope to meet, connect, and share ideas with like-minded individuals.The fact you've read this far tells me you may be one; one of the crazy ones... a misfit, a rebel, a weirdo. Someone who's just delusional enough (a troublemaker who bashes against the status quo) to chase a black swan. I truly look forward to your feedback, replies and thoughts.

Sign Up to Osmosis

  • Micro-Essays Mondays to Fridays (~250-400 words)

  • An Insight, Idea, or spark of Inspiration each issue

  • Book Recs, Tarot Readings, and 2x2 Tables

© 2021-2024 Plural Inc. All rights reserved. All photography on this page was taken by me (and therefore copyright to Colin Y.J. Chung), save the office one. That one is by Johann Shih. For the curious, the library is Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland (yes, the one you see in the pilot of Apple+/David Goyer's Foundation). The bog body is the "Baronstown West Man" found in Kildare county, dated from the Early Iron Age between 400-350 BC. He is believed to have been a "ritual sacrifice". The empty art gallery is from the Metropolitan Museum or Art in NYC, taken in 2013, when the exhibit was going through a temporary transition. (I have often used this picture to claim I'm secretly an art thief and it was I who emptied this room). The Zodiac Wheel is graffiti found in the Tower of London carved in May of 1561 by Hew Draper, a Bristol innkeeper accused of sorcery. He pled "not guilty" and there are no records of his death. oooh, spoooky. The old book was found at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa and unfortunately, I was not as scrupulous in recording what this artifact is aside from it "looks cool". Sorry. The entrance behind the opt-in form is Newgrange, a passage tomb from 3200 BC in Brú na Bóinne, Ireland... the oldest human-made thing I've ever visited. I can't believe you're reading this. You're a nerd. You should definitely sign up. Especially if you caught the literary references to Ginsberg's Howl, and/or the Siltanen/Segall Apple ad.

THANK YOU FOR SIGNING UP!But you're not done yet...

Please Check Your Inbox
(And Spam Folder!)

Look for an email with the subject line:"Osmosis: Just One More Step"And then -- click on the blue button inside!The email looks like this ⤵️

Once you've clicked the blue button, you'll start getting Osmosis.Remember -- it could be in your spam folder.If you don't see the email above at all... reach out to me directly at colin [at] osmosis [dot] dev. I can manually add you.Talk to you soon!

Stay Osmotic,
Colin Y.J. Chung


Thank You & Welcome

Hey, thank you for being here. I'm honoured by your presence. By clicking on the blue button in that email, you're telling me you actually want my stuff. That means a lot to me.I look forward to sharing my thoughts, insights, and ideas with you. I hope you share yours as well... when whatever I write evokes (or provokes) something in you.To be honest, my secret agenda at Osmosis is to attract and meet interesting people via my writing. So if you have a unique experience, expertise, or an opinion to share, please do. Simply hit reply to any of my emails.That's it for now. I'll see you in your inbox.Stay Osmotic,
Colin Y.J. Chung


Sorry to See You Go...

Hey, I'm sorry Osmosis didn't work out for you, but also -- thank you for reading my work and giving it a try. I hope we cross paths again in the future.Stay Osmotic,
Colin Y.J. Chung