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The nerves, the heart and the brains

By 2 June 2021February 18th, 2024Business thoughts

We typically do space geodesy. This is our first post about biology.

Set theory

This article revolves around two important questions:

  • How many arrangements, permutations and combinations are there in a set of three elements?
  • How should you select your close associates in work and business?

Let’s walk through all the combinations of the nerves, the heart and the brains.


  • Heart. This one is easy to spot. You know if someone has a big heart. They are kind, they are caring, they are generous with their time, their attention, their money. They have sweet words. You can feel the beat, the warmth and the love.
  • Brains is also easy. You can spot a genius when you see one. Someone who is intellectually brilliant, a maths or code freak, someone who is able to think fast, grab a new concept, think out of the box, speak eloquently, practice several languages, master ideas, read people, anticipate the future, maneuver a tricky situation, come out on top, or outwit everybody in the room.
  • Nerves. This is someone who can withstand pressure, control himself or herself, and endure hardships without exploding to pieces. The one who has a strong will, gets the work done, finishes what he or she starts, stays focused, perseveres. The one who has courage, who dares, fights and never surrenders. Under the present category of “nerves”, we also broadly include some other parts of the human anatomy, such as “guts”, “muscles”, or also some specific manly attribute whose name we will leave to your imagination.

So let’s go through all the combinations. Since we have a background in Javascript, we’ll start with “null” and “undefined”. As you see, we never let a good opportunity for geek humor go to waste.


What is null? No heart, no brains and no nerves. Is this an empty set, or a set with one single null element? It does not really matter, there’s nothing we can say about null.


Undefined is also defined in Javascript. Why is undefined defined? Because undefined happens. Dig in your memories: sometimes you can tell that a person has a big heart. Sometimes, on the opposite, you can tell that a person is a cruel selfish ugly bastard. But sometimes, it is somewhere inbetween. There’s no distinctive sign in one way or the other. You can’t really tell. The same goes for brains. Not especially bright, but not blatantly stupid. Kind of normal. And for the nerves. Not a staggering display of endurance or willpower, but not a demonstration of cowardliness or laziness either. Kind of average. Without information or distinctive traits, we can’t really devise anything. Let’s simply coexist peacefully.

Only one out of three (and none of the two others)

While picking an associate, you should at least aim for two features out of the three. One out of three is not even above average. It is not likely to yield any meaningful results in the long run. Let’s skip those cases and directly head towards combinations of two features. That’s where the fun begins.

Nerves and brains (but no heart)

Nerves and brains. This combination can prove highly practical and effective for organized strategy and cold execution. It can be ruthlessly and mechanically efficient. However, it is mostly dry and annoying. It may remain limited to impersonal actions, strictly utility matters or a transitory step. Nerves and brains are good, but you also want a little bit of juice. Some emotion. Heart is necessary to fuel meaningful exploits and long-term commitments.

Brains and heart (but no nerves)

This one is an interesting combination. You will have a good time with it. You will experience delightful pleasures with intellectual stimulation and emotional reward. It can foster innovation and discoveries, through a team of dedicated and enthusiastic comrades. However, you are bound to encounter serious shortfalls in the end. Without the nerves and the discipline to keep things orderly and afloat, your boat will start to experience leaks and will eventually drown or be shattered into pieces. This combination is seducing at the start, very pleasant in the middle, but is a slippery slope that can lead you to pitiful disappointment. If you can’t find enough discipline on the other side, don’t get too deeply involved or walk away before it is too late.

Heart and nerves (but no brains)

This combination is interesting too. These types are the enduring companions, the brave comrades on which you can always count, who don’t think much nor ask a lot of questions, but will always be there with you when you climb a mountain. The good-hearted, the never tired, who carry the food, set up the tent, drive the mule and fight the grizzly bear. They are good companions in effort, provided you always keep dispatching orders and never get sloppy yourself. In that scenario, you must think for everyone and supervise efficiently, or you will quickly pay a price. Besides, there is another limitation. If you don’t have a sharpened brain as a player in front of you, you will miss the interactivity of the game. If you are never be challenged, surprised, or put off balance, your mind will rust, your spirits will lower, and you will become bored and uninspired in the long run. You need a touch of brightness to keep the game alive.

The nerves, the heart, and the brains

Oh boy, do we love this one. The nerves, the heart and the brains. This is the only combination that is really worth fighting for, if you are taking risks and making sacrifices. If you are ready to endure the kind of pain and effort necessary to get somewhere, you have to engage with individuals who have those three characteristics, preferably in droves. With this combination, you will find the strength, the passion, the reward, the courage, the juice, the love, the patience and the discipline to keep the adventure going for a long time. If you find it, hold on to it!


So you know what you have to do. If you want to go far, take your magnifying glass, put on your Sherlock Holmes hat, and go look for the nerves, the heart and the brains!