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1. “If it can make you angry, it can own you”
That Annoying Box Of Anger – David Gerrold – (Patreon, public post)
Anger makes me angry. More precisely, frequent pointless anger. Bonus points when the angry person insists they’re not angry.
Gerrold’s topic is the anger we carry with us. The anger that owns us, causes it to perhaps take inappropriate action long after the cause for that anger has passed. Anger that manifests in unrelated ways.
That box of anger? It’s like that dusty box of child’s toys that we keep for sentimental value. It’s part of who we were, it’s part of the journey how we got here. But it’s no longer part of who we are now.
When acknowledged and dealt with, that is.
Do this: Own your anger, and deal with it appropriately.
2. “Maintained under controlled conditions”
Thoughts on Whether “Old” is Different from “Aged” – Doris Carnevali – (Engaging With Aging blog)
This comparison got my attention:
Wines and cheeses offer familiar substances where old and aged are distinctly different. Some kinds of young cheeses can become hard, dry, moldy and inedible. Others are created and maintained under controlled conditions which yield a product whose flavor is richer, and deeper and one that becomes more and more expensive
The trick to becoming richer and deeper ourselves is to be intentional about those “controlled conditions” under which we live. Particularly the attitudes in our head.
Do this: Don’t get moldy.
3. “Be humble and curious.”
The freedom of not knowing everything – Nadia Bolz-Weber – (The Corners, newsletter)
Like a typical teenager, we so often act as if we know everything, usually because we believe we have all the available information.
Rarely is that the case. Rarely, as in never.
Bolz-Weber describes butting her own head against this several times, and working to intentionally set it aside to avoid the inevitable frustrations and embarrassment when discovering she didn’t have the whole story.
I may just switch from Team Stick To Your Guns to Team Maybe I Don’t Have All The Information – if anything, it just feels more relaxing and I’m exhausted.
Do this: Be humble and curious.
4. “Have the courage to keep loving your garbage”
How to read like an artist – Austin Kleon – (Blog)
“10 tips for a better life with books” is also encouragement to read books more often, and to make reading easier to do. Think of it as a default activity — have a few minutes downtime? Grab a book.
The takeaway above is from point #5, which ends:
When you find something you genuinely enjoy, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. Love what you love.
There are enough distractions, don’t let the opinion of others be yet another one.
Do this: Read. Books.
5. “Of all the things a police state can do to its citizens, distorting history is possibly the most pernicious”
Revolt in 2100 – Robert Heinlein – (ebook)
I stumbled into re-reading this 1953 book after searching about a Sci-Fi author terming the 2020’s as “the crazy years”. That lead me to an essay by David Brin — Heinlein’s Future History: Coming True Before Our Eyes — written in 2017. It’s a scary observation.
Another quote from Heinlein:
When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.
It all feels so very timely.
Do this: Brin’s essay is worth the read. I’m not finished yet, but I expect Heinlein’s book will be as well.
6. “The normal behavior of the tribe often overpowers the desired behavior of the individual.”
Atomic Habits – James Clear – (ebook)
I keep running across this concept, and it stops me in my tracks every time. I may even have shared variations of it here before.
It explains so much about what’s going on these days. More importantly it shows how what we’re dealing with is not an issue of truth or fact, but rather of sociology, tribalism, and belonging.
That makes knowing what to do extremely difficult for fact/data/science-based folks such as myself.
Do this: Consider the source of your beliefs and behavior.
7. “Music has a way of speaking to us”
Blackbird – Dan Rather – (Steady newsletter)
I learned two fascinating things about the Beatle’s classic “Blackbird”:
- The famous riff is inspired by Bach’s “Bourrée in E minor.”
- The song is a symbol of the civil rights movement.
Rather links to videos, including Paul McCartney discussion of the song’s origin, as well as a performance by The Late Show’s Jon Batiste of his version of the song.
As I said, fascinating, and now I have the song running through my head.
Do this: Listen to the 2009 remastered version.
What I’m Reading
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear
- Courage is Calling – Ryan Holiday
- Revolt in 2100 – Robert Heinlein
- 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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