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Discern like a sommelier

How can a master sommelier identify a bottle of wine from anywhere in the world just by tasting it? It seemed inconceivable to me until I listened to an interview with one of the best sommeliers.

In essence, it’s about methodical comparison between wines and the discernment of the soil, the grape, and the wood of the barrel in which the wine matured. It’s about identifying the characteristic properties composing the taste and then taking copious notes.

The goal is to be able to pair bottles of wine well with dishes and occassions and create the ultimate sensory experience.

This type of discernment isn’t useful just for sommeliers, however.

Writing down thoughts helps us identify more factors that play role in how the world works. Every distinction, every new term, every new concept us see the cogs that constitute reality. Then, that understanding can be used in a variety of ways to interact effectively with the circumstances at hand.

If you understand how different foods impact your metabolism precisely, you’ll naturally eat healthier.

If you can grasp and *label* an emotion someone is feeling in a heated argument, you easily disperse the outburst of energy.

If you know the concept of *chronotypes*, you can understand yourself better and control how productive you are.

To train this ability, I suggest two things:

  • Reading — others have named and defined much before us

  • Writing — we can define our inner thoughts and deal with them more effectively

This is why we have language after all. To discern, define, and simplify the complex reality into chunks that our mind can process.

You may be diving into a new field at this moment, or exploring deeper a field you already know. Try to name the phenomena you see, define the terms for yourself, read and write to conceptualize them.

Those who discern reality aptly, adapt and grow.

Are you cultivating this ability?