Regular Doses of Awe — 7 Takeaways No. 94


(If you’re having difficulty viewing this in email, visit in your browser. If a link to a source below leads to you a paywall or is otherwise inaccessible, please read my note on the topic: Paywalls.)

1. “Regular doses of awe”

Oh wow! How getting more awe can improve your life – and even make you a nicer person – Eleanor Morgan – (The Guardian)

You’ve felt it. I’ve felt it — the sunshine on my back this morning. My favorite piece of music. The realization of how amazing things are. Things that are truly awe-inspiring (even “awesome”, in the literal sense). Turns out experiencing awe is good for you, and it’s an easy feeling to cultivate.

We recently interviewed 320,500 people from 26 countries about what brings them awe – and no one mentioned their smartphone.

I might quibble with that, since the smartphone itself is a pretty amazing feat of human engineering, and can also open up awe-inspiring worlds. But I can also see that people probably aren’t using them that way, or thinking of them that way.

Do this: Seek out awe.

2. “The worse one is, the less one perceives it.

Letters from a Stoic – Lucius Annaeus Seneca – (ebook)

From “Letter 53. On the faults of the spirit”, Seneca is comparing physical maladies, which we perceive in ourselves relatively quickly, to “diseases of the soul”, which we are much less likely to notice, or admit, in ourselves.

What I find ironic? fascinating? is that the reverse seems true when we look at others: we might not notice their physical ailments, but we are quick to notice their moral failings.

Do this: Work to perceive it.

3. “One in three teachers reports being harassed”

Teachers, Nurses, and Child-Care Workers Have Had Enough – Annie Lowrey – (The Atlantic)

Teachers and related staff, health care professionals in every facet … they’re all under tremendous pressure. Is it any wonder they’re leaving their chose professions?

An untold number of nurses, teachers, and child-care workers are asking themselves Is this worth it? and deciding that it is not.

What has me constantly scratching my head is simply this: why isn’t anything being done?

Do this: Support them, particularly when it comes to things like pay, working conditions, and benefits.

4. “Fear itself can lead to actions that worsen your finances”

7 ways a recession could be good for you financially – Michelle Singletary – (The Washington Post)

Yes, there’s a cloud on the financial horizon, recession, but it’s probably less of a worry than the other cloud considering joining us as well: high inflation.

As with any “bad news” or threat of downturns, people fear, and out of fear make bad decisions. This essay serves as a reminder that there are some positive things associated with a recession that could work to your advantage, if you have the ability, and the foresight not to panic.

One of the biggest is first on the list:

1. Housing prices may finally come down to reasonable levels. Yes, mortgage rates are higher, but the upside of that is that sellers in many markets will have to lower their asking prices so that buyers can qualify for the loans.

Do this: remain steady, cautious, and aware.

5. “Individuals have to consider their contribution to everyone else’s risk”

The Pandemic’s Legacy Is Already Clear – Ed Yong – (The Atlantic)

I find myself in Europe wanting to explain why the pandemic remains a thing, particularly in the United States. Contrary to presidential proclamations, it’s not over.

One of the best summaries of why the U.S. is different is this:

The U.S. will continue to struggle against infectious diseases in part because some of its most deeply held values are antithetical to the task of besting a virus. Since its founding, the country has prized a strain of rugged individualism that prioritizes individual freedom and valorizes self-reliance.

Put another way, “the American way” prioritizes the rights of the individual over the impact on society.

The result is that when the next pandemic arrives, we’ll get to do this all over again.

Do this: Plan ahead. Prioritize appropriately.

6. ” ‘the secret’ to happiness is metacognition”

Does Arthur Brooks Have the Secret to Happiness? – Clay Skipper – (GQ)

Brooks is, among other things, a columnist for The Atlantic I’ve been following for some time. This GQ article is an interesting peek into the man himself, and many of the ironies and riddles that are his own life and pursuit of happiness.

One of the themes I see across much happiness literature is exemplified by the takeaway above: metacognition, aka awareness, or to use the most popular current buzzword: mindfulness. The path to happiness begins with self-awareness and intention.

In response to the authors admission that his anxiety often gets in the way of his happiness, Brooks responds:

your goal might be not ‘How can I have less anxiety?’ but ‘How can I love my anxiety?’”

In other words, acceptance and even an embracing of what is, rather than taking on a constant battle. Another very common thread, not just in happiness literature, but in many philosophies as well.

Do this: be aware.

7. “Discipline is the win”

Discipline is Destiny: 25 Habits That Will Guarantee You Success – Ryan Holiday – (blog)

I chafe a little at clickbaity titles like “25 X that will guarantee you Y”, but considering the source, I’m going to let that slide. Holiday’s new book, Discipline is Destiny, is out. It’s on my reading pile. In this essay he culls 25 habits that, while not guaranteed in my book, and perhaps not even applicable to everyone, are certainly things worth considering.

Five of the 25 that resonated with me include:

5. Do the hard things first.

7. Make little progress each day.

8. Be kind to yourself.

12. View everything in the calm and mild light.

15. Find your comrades.

Do this: Develop your discipline.

What I’m Reading

In progress:


Support 7Takeaways

As Austin Kleon says about his own newsletter: it’s free, but not cheap. Your support helps keep 7Takeaways viable. I appreciate your consideration VERY much.

Pick your own level of support!

1 thought on “Regular Doses of Awe — 7 Takeaways No. 94”

  1. Do the hard things first. This may be good for our character, but it is not a good approach to solving a technical problem. The easy things can very possibly be obscuring the information that we need to solve the hard problems.
    Do the easy things first. The hard problems may become a lot easier.


Leave a Comment