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1. “White people refuse to see the obvious.”
The Myth of Black Violence – James Mulholland – (Note To My White Self blog)
Whenever an article makes me pause and question what I’ve heard, or even taken for granted, it’s something worth reflecting on. The topic is the perception of black-on-black violence.
When I carefully lay out this explanation for Black on Black violence, white people often remain adamant that Black on Black violence – and NOT systemic racism – is a problem requiring action. They often end our conversation with something like this…
“Well, I just think Black people need to clean up their own house first.”
White people refuse to see the obvious.
Black people don’t own a house.
They all live in a house owned, controlled, and monitored by white people where even a hint of violence toward their white housemates is cause for a quick and harsh response.
Do this: Question your perceptions.
2. “Lies travel around the world before the truth gets its shoes on.”
7 Steps to Debunk Online Misinformation – Melanie Trecek-King – (Talking Threat Intelligence podcast)
Trecek-King presents a framework for critical thinking: “FLOATER“. My interpretation:
- Falsifiability – What would proving something false look like?
- Logic – Claims and arguments pro or con need to be logical.
- Objectivity – Information needs to be free of personal bias or unsupported opinion.
- Alternative Explanations – Are there alternative explanations, even if unlikely?
- Tentative Conclusions – Draw some tentative conclusions based on what we know so far.
- Evidence – Compare those conclusions against evidence.
- Reproducibility – Can the claim be reproduced?
Much of the misinformation we encounter every day doesn’t stand the test of even one of those aspects, much less all of them. And yet, people believe.
Do this: As I’ve said before: be skeptical.
3. “Be curious and spend time with great people.”
Harsh Truths That Will Change Your Life – Sahil Bloom – (The Curiosity Chronicle newsletter)
Bloom presents several contrary-to-common-wisdom ideas. As just one example, “Failure doesn’t always lead to growth”.
What I’ve come to learn: The “growth” may not come from the failure itself, but from simply outlasting the darkness that it creates.
Friendship. Money. What you want to be when you grow up. More. These are all topics he addresses with actionable wisdom.
Do this: Spend time with great people.
4. “Easy in the eye of the beholder.”
Don’t Minimize Difficulty – Eleanor Konik – (Obsidian Roundup newsletter)
The newsletter’s actually about the note taking tool I use, Obsidian, but this issue touches on a topic that resonates with me: what one person sees as “easy” is often another person’s “hard”.
… a lot of things are easy only if you’ve put in the time and energy and effort to already know all of the underlying things …
When I think about it, this defines my relationship with technology, and how I often add value. Certain things that others find incredibly difficult are trivial to me, because I’ve been doing this for so very long.
The problem, of course, is that it’s easy — very easy — to forget that not everyone has your background in the things you find “easy”.
Do this: Remember that. (The source article is likely behind a paywall. Drop me a line if you want to dive deeper.)
5. “Adult-like children and childish adults”
Adulting Fast and Slow – David Perell – (Blog/newsletter)
This is a fascinating analysis of children growing up faster than ever, while adults are bemoaning “adulting” once they get out into the world.
Without faith in a better tomorrow, we embraced degeneracy and avoided our to-do lists.
Perell ties the beginning of children’s more rapid growth to video. No, not that video, but television.
By moving from a book-centric culture to an image-centric one, we created a Peter Pan Generation of childish adults who refuse to grow up.
While the essay feels a tad extreme at times, it’s hard for me to say it’s far wrong.
Do this: Read a book. Embrace responsibility. (The latter will make sense after reading the essay.)
6. “What life lessons have I learned so far?”
An end-of-life doula’s advice on how to make the most of your time on earth – Rachel Friedman – (Vox)
The thought of dieing frightens most people … to death. We don’t think about our mortality often, at least not until the last few years. COVID-19 made the reality of death much more prominent.
Friedman offers three exercises to help make death something a little less frightening by focusing on making the most of the time we have left, and understanding what it is we might want to leave behind.
Focusing on what you would like to leave behind could help you turn something terrifying into a positive motivational tool.
Not everyone is ready for these exercises, but it seems like everyone could benefit.
Do this: Memento Mori (remember that you will die).
7. “Let’s lagom this bear house”
The Swedish philosophy of lagom: how “just enough” is all you need – Jonny Thomson – (Big Think)
Lagom translates as “just the right amount.” It means knowing when enough is enough, and trying to find balance and moderation rather than constantly grasping for more.
Not too big, not too small … just right. Finding satisfaction in just the right amount. Moderation, but at the “that’s good enough” point.
Examples used include that drink that pushes you over the edge, or that extra slice of pizza that leads to that “too full” feeling of discomfort.
Society encourages aggressive consumption. Lagom seems a more healthy alternative.
Do this: Lagom your life.
8. “Many people are more than ready to take advantage of our desire to believe what we want to believe”
On Skepticism – Leo Notenboom – (Personal blog)
Skepticism is one of the more important skills I believe people need to cultivate, especially in today’s crazy world.
To me, being skeptical is not always taking things at face value. It’s looking for proof or supporting evidence before accepting claims as being accurate.
Doubting Thomas is a good example not only of a skeptic, but of one reason skepticism gets a bad rap.
Do this: You can see this coming: be skeptical.
What I’m Reading
- Dune: The Battle of Corrin – Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
- 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
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