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1. “We are here on Earth to fart around.”
Summer mailbag – Austin Kleon – (Newsletter)
That’s actually a quote from Kurt Vonnegut that resonated with me. This issue of Kleon’s newsletter talks about happiness and gratitude.
I have found, personally, that my life is better if I worry less about whether I’m happy, and focus more on being grateful for the life I have.
Happiness is fleeting. It’s found in moments. These moments are worth acknowledging, and maybe even recording.
We focus so much on what’s wrong, often overlooking what’s right.
Do this: Acknowledge happiness.
2. “A 95 year-old social media troglodyte”
Engaging with Aging’s 5th Anniversary – Doris Carnevali – (Engaging With Aging blog)
That troglodyte is now a 100-year-old blogging pro.
I keep coming back to Carnevali’s blog simple because she’s such an inspiration. Not just for blogging, but for aging. She’s showing us that no matter what your age, there are always opportunities to grow and try something new.
Do this: Try something new.
3. “People flashed before my eyes”
Things You Think When You Think You’re Dying – John Pavlovitz – (Blog)
In a post from last year, Pavlovitz describes an event where he truly thought he was about to pass away, and what flashed through his panicked mind.
And how that changed him.
I’m measuring my life in by the people I love and am loved by, by the relationships I get to spend these days inside of and by the human beings I alter with my presence.
Do this: think about how you want to measure your life.
4. “This fear that you’re going to be rejected”
How to admit you’re wrong – Allie Volpe – (Vox)
Why people can’t admit they’re wrong is a topic I find interesting. This article is mostly about workplace mistakes.
When we err, we might risk social ostracism or embarrassment. As social beings, we’re constantly looking for acceptance within groups. Being wrong about something opens us up to criticism from members of those groups,
As I think I’ve quoted before from others, this applies to much, much more than just the workplace. Particularly in today’s divided society, the “cost” of admitting you’re wrong, or changing your mind, can be exceptionally high. The threat of ostracism from your tribe, however you define tribe, can cause massive amounts of cognitive dissonance and stress as part of you knows you’re wrong, but a larger part refuses to accept or admit it.
Do this: Admit when you’re wrong, and examine carefully why you might be reluctant to.
5. “The seduction of pessimism.”
Three big things pessimists tend to ignore – Morgan Housel – The Hustle
It’s a great way to phrase it. Pessimism is seductive.
Optimism sounds like a sales pitch, while pessimism sounds like someone trying to help you.
I’m a generally positive person, perhaps more so than many. But I gotta say that I’ve fallen to pessimism’s siren call a lot over the past six years. I keep reminding myself that pessimism gets headlines, while optimism gets ignored.
Bad news tends to happen fast, while good news moves slowly.
Do this: Pay attention to the slow moving good stuff.
6. “We’re confusing attention with affection.”
The Wisdom Series: Danielle Laporte | Love as Your Bottom Line – Srinivas Rao & Danielle Laporte – (The Unmistakable Creative Podcast)
This is a wide-ranging interview covering topics like trauma, social media (the source of the takeaway), sharing, connecting, karma, and, of course, love. One segment that stood out for me:
Once you can clean things out, you can clean out disappointment and trauma. Then you realize you’re still here. Oh, my God, you’re still here. And you’re intelligent and you’re making a contribution and you’re beautiful and you want to make a difference in the world. And then you realize you’re in choice.
The concept of being “in choice” — in a place where you’re consciously choosing how to live your life in a forward direction and not just reacting to the past or others — was a new way of looking at things.
Do this: I haven’t decided if Laporte is too far down the “woo” scale for me, but this was an interesting podcast episode to listen to with lots of potential takeaways. If you have an hour, consider listening.
7. “Stress has become distress”
An ancient technique can improve your attention span – Kevin Dickinson – (Big Think)
Another recurring theme that grabs my attention (no pun or irony intended) is techniques to help improve our ever shortening attention spans.
That distractibility is human nature is no surprise, and even has evolutionary roots. It kept us alive when predators happened by or other hazards came into range.
Unfortunately, it’s not serving us as well right now, since we seem to have taken it to extremes. The latest tweet, email, or even news story doesn’t have the same potential for imminent danger. And yet they all work to take control of our attention as if they did.
The “ancient technique” to improve your attention span?
… lab participants who practiced mindfulness for 12 minutes or more a day saw benefits in objective measures of attention and mood
In other words, some form of meditation.
Do this: Set aside your preconceptions and consider it.
8. “Laziness is at the root of our desire for simple answers.”
On Easy Answers – Leo A. Notenboom – (Personal Blog)
This week’s sample from my 65 Thoughts project. While simple answers on which we can make quick decisions were probably a cave dweller’s survival skill, modern times are much more complex.
The problem, of course, is that there are no easy answers.
When we take the lazy approach and fail to consider the possibility of complexity and nuance, we often make poor decisions.
Do this: Accept that the world just isn’t that simple.
What I’m Reading
- The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness – Eric Jorgenson
- 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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