Something of substance each day, collected and delivered weekly.
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1. “A complex history (and lots of politics!)”
Language matters: What learners need to know about Ukrainian – (Duolingo blog)
I knew some of this, but overall this was very educational. The political aspect is significantly larger than I expected, to be honest. For example, “Ukraine” is a country, “The Ukraine” treats it more like a region, much like we might say The Pacific Northwest. Subtle, but meaningful.
It also details the linguistic roots that differentiate Kiev (via Russian) from Kyiv (via Ukraine).
Do this: Use “Ukraine” when talking about the country, and “Kyiv” (pronounced, roughly, “keev”) for its capital city.
2. “A Significant Event occurs”
The Life Cycle of Outrage – Mark Manson – (Blog)
An interesting analysis of the stages a major outrageous event goes through regarding news, fake news, rumors, updates, misinformation, and eventually … boredom.
We get so used to this constant flood of (mis)information that we eventually tune it out, leading towards more extreme clickbait headlines and attention grabbing half-truths.
And worse, when something truly significant does happen, it blends in seamlessly with the continuing shitstream that is information in the social media age.
There are truly significant events, and plenty of them, but not everything screaming at you from the headlines falls into that category.
Do this: Ask yourself if it’ll matter in 10, 20, or 100 years.
3. “squeeze every single drop of joy, and love and life out of the days ahead?”
The World We Had – Nadia Bolz-Weber – (The Corners, blog)
That’s a reflection from the author reflecting on the possibility that perhaps someday we’ll look at our more recent past as “the best of times” in comparison with what’s to come.
I’m starting to wonder: had we been living in the most peaceful, prosperous, stable time in history and we didn’t realize it?
I don’t know. Honestly. There’s enough turmoil and uncertainty right now that it’s not easily dismissed. On the other hand … not all events are as significant, long term, as we might feel in the moment. Maybe.
The sentiment to make the most of whatever your future days might hold remains true regardless of tomorrow’s trajectory.
Do this: Make the most of it.
4. “Velocity is the business model”
How to Tell News Fact from Fiction, Even During a War – Julie Jargon – (Wall Street Journal)
“Lateral reading” is the buzzword, and it boils down to what you might expect: looking for clues of veracity, multiple sources, and clues that we can trust a source. It’s being taught in some high-schools, which is hopeful, but the article also calls out my biggest concern:
Whether those skills will translate beyond the classroom is unclear.
So much of what students do in the classroom is for the classroom. Meaning they’re doing it because they have to in order to pass, and rarely see relevance once they walk out the door.
And, to be fair, it’s difficult for us all.
The challenge […] would be to pause, do a search to check for signs of validity and then, if satisfied, return to Twitter to share or comment. But that requires awareness and impulse control.
Awareness is difficult. Impulse control even more so.
Do this: Control your impulses. Do the research.
5. “How fast can you get back up?”
Why This is a Stupid Question: How Many Times Have You Fallen in the Last Six Months? – Julia Hubbel – (Blog)
The serendipity is strong in this one. Literally the day before reading this I had entered the following in my journal: “What should we be doing today to lesson the chances of a fall tomorrow?” Hubbel’s reframe of the question is an interesting perspective.
Her point is that we fall at any age. What can change is our ability to get back up. While we might take this metaphorically, as life throws us whatever it does, this is quite literal. Her point is simple: train for it. If you can, literally train for it.
Do this: We all have our limitations, I get that, but if you can, consider what you can do to avoid falls, and improve your ability to get back up.
6. “Set-up, confirm, confound”
Everything I Know About Life I Learned from PowerPoint – Russell Davies – (ebook*)
I forget how I stumbled onto this book, but it turned out to be significantly more interesting and valuable than I expected. I devoured it in just a few days.
Davies spends a fair amount of time discussing why he’s a PowerPoint supporter, and about what most of the detractors miss. Yes, it has its faults, but like any tool, it can be used and abused. If there’s blame at all, it’s that PowerPoint seems to encourage you to abuse it. Used more intentionally, it’s a great tool not just to present, but to structure, organize, and even help define your own thoughts around a topic.
The take-away is just one of many, but relates to “presenting in threes”:
Threes don’t just help structure your argument. They help you make it. They help you turn your recommendations into powerful, motivating, memorable language.
(*) The ebook, which I purchased on Kindle, seems no longer available. The author didn’t endorse it. Ironically, it wasn’t a great conversion: it looks like the pages of the book had effectively been screen shot and assembled into … a presentation.
Do this: give PowerPoint a chance.
7. “Marinating in the news helps no-one”
The Imperfectionist: Becoming news-resilient – Oliver Burkeman – (Newsletter)
Burkeman’s the author of Four Thousand Weeks – Time Management for Mortals, which just got moved up a notch or two on my to-read pile.
The problem is one so many of us are facing: the ongoing depressing miasma that is the news cycle. He lays out a middle road between avoiding news completely and excessive self-care, the two most popular, and highly ineffective, “remedies”.
Instead, be realistic. As he puts it “dip in” to the news periodically, but set boundaries. And continue to have a life.
… meaningful work, keeping your community functioning, being a good-enough parent or a decent friend – that stuff actively does help. There’s something you’re here to do. And I highly doubt that it’s doomscrolling.
Do this: Pay attention to your news consumption.
What I’m Reading
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity – Ryan Holiday, Stephen Hanselman
- The Daily Laws: 366 Meditations on Power, Seduction, Mastery, Strategy, and Human Nature – Robert Greene
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