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1. “We are gods with anuses.”
The Game You Don’t Need to Play – Lawrence Yeo – (More To That blog)
The takeaway above is actually by Ernest Becker, quoted in Yeo’s essay. Yeo goes on to clarify:
We are equipped with godlike imaginations, but are constrained by the biology of our evolutionary lineage.
Moving on he says there’s more to it than biology.
… so many of our modern struggles are the result of the primitive operating system that is shipped within each fresh mind.
The item he calls out? Status, and our pursuit of it.
It’s not a long essay, but it goes into some good thought about the ramifications of that pursuit.
Do this: Quoting Yeo: “Be very selective about the games you need to play.”
2. “Your peers set the menu of default life options”
Things you’re allowed to do – Trevor McKendrick – (Newsletter)
Unfortunately the newsletter itself doesn’t appear to be archived online. (The link above is to the newsletter sign up page.)
The takeaway is from the intro to a link to an article McKendrick points to discussing, as the title alludes to, things you’re allowed to do.
It’s the intro that got my attention, though, this parenthetical segment in particular:
(When people say “you’re the average of the 5 people you hang out with”, IMO one of the biggest reason’s why is the above – your peers set the menu of default life options.)
Do this: cultivate the people you hang out with.
3. “We desire what other humans desire.”
Mimetic Desire explained in exactly 500 words – Louis Pereira – (Complexity Condensed blog, via Refind)
A lovely short overview of desire, and why we desire what we desire. Coincidentally, status is also a large part of it.
Perhaps an even more valuable takeaway:
what we choose to want impacts how we spend our lives.
Do this: “… find desires that stand the test of time.” 500 words, well worth your time.
4. “…atheism probably isn’t all that rare.”
Atheism is not as rare or as rational as you think – Will Gervais – (Big Think, via Refind)
This is an interesting overview of the current state of atheism. As the title indicates, it’s much more prevalent than most polls would indicate.
… our best estimate is that 26% of American adults do not believe in god(s) — more than twice as many as Gallup and Pew estimated at the time.
One reason for the under-reporting? Atheism is heavily stigmatized. It’s often seen as immoral, and worse even than picking the “wrong” religion. And while many atheists claim rational thinking as their basis for their lack of belief, apparently this isn’t necessarily as large a reason as many think.
Do this: consider the source(s) of your beliefs.
5. “I knew I wanted more.”
You Can Be More Than One Thing – Stephanie Rice – (Medium)
Honestly the takeaway is the title, followed by its subtitle:
On becoming something else, while keeping the thing you used to be
The author is a journalist who’s wanting more than her given career offers, and yet doesn’t want to leave it behind. “You can be more than one thing.” is the comment by a walking companion.
As someone who is many, many, MANY things, some related, some quite different from one-another, I can attest to this. You can’t do everything, but you don’t have to be limited to one thing either.
Do this: Think about what you want to be, but this time make it multiple-choice.
6. “Our time together is finite, but we fail to recognize it until it’s too late.”
It’s Later Than You Think – Sahil Bloom – (The Curiosity Chronicle newsletter, via Refind)
I don’t really mean for this to be a downer or depressing, but rather an important realization that might change some of the choices you make.
Harsh Truth: You’ll only see your loved ones a few more times.
It’s another reminder — in the same way that Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals is a reminder — that our time here is finite, and it’s on us to make the best of it.
Do this: Make the absolute best of it.
7. “Invest in family and friends.”
10 Practical Ways to Improve Happiness – Arthur C. Brooks – (The Atlantic)
A nice segue from the previous takeaway, or perhaps just a continuation of a theme.
The full list will feel familiar, if not even obvious. But the catch is that even though we so often know what to do, we often skip the “doing” part in our race to deal with our day-to-day. The good news is that everything on the list is doable for almost everyone.
Do this: be intentional about your happiness.
What I’m Reading
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear
- Courage is Calling – Ryan Holiday
- Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, Book 2) – Ilona Andrews
- 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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