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1. “Every moment is beautiful if you accept it for what it is.”
There Are Two Ways To Do What Makes You Happy — Only One Will – Moreno Zugaro – (Medium)
The one that works:
capital H Happiness. It’s a state of peace with yourself and the world
Zugaro boils it down to three actions:
- Do what feels right instead of what feels good
- Delay instant gratification and choose long-term benefits
- Clean up your past
The first two are, in a sense, maturing and achieving a sense of self discipline. The third, however, is the idea that unresolved issues from our past are baggage we carry with us, and impact how we approach the world, often to our detriment. It’s not that the past will change, but what’s really being “cleaned up” is our relationship with it.
Do this: Capital H Happiness takes awareness and work. It’s worth it.
2. “The high road has plenty of room”
This is What “Big Girl Panties” Looks Like in Practice – Julia Hubbel – (Blog)
Taking responsibility for your actions. Owning your shit. There’s a long history of paying lip service to the idea, while simultaneously doing anything but.
Hubbel shares an example of another writer’s publishing a story of being vulnerable, listening to feedback, and changing her behaviour, resulting in better relationships all around.
This is what grownups do. It’s what emotionally mature people learn to do by practicing this very thing: being willing to be wrong, especially publicly, and not shirking the grace that such a lesson invariably holds for us.
It’s tough. It’s awkward. It’s embarrassing. It’s important.
Do this: Be open to learning those lessons.
3. “People can respond to a placebo even when they know”
The Expectation Effect – David Robson – (ebook)
I’m only one quarter through this book and finding it fascinating. Robson explores the real mind-body effect with many anecdotes and cited studies. The mind plays a much larger role in healing, for example, than we understand, or that medical professionals are trained to leverage.
The words a doctor speaks are themselves “biologically active” and an essential element of any treatment.
Even the way doctors phrase things can significantly affect outcomes. Words matter, so much more than we think.
Do this: It’s pithy to say “keep a positive attitude”, but that’s honestly one takeaway. The book includes more pragmatic approaches to make that happen, backed with positive results.
4. “We do not put sufficient trust in the discoveries of the wise”
Letters from a Stoic – Lucius Annaeus Seneca – (ebook)
Seneca’s comment was, I’m sure, directed at philosophical pursuits. For me, this resonated on a much broader level. Consider all the “fake news”, “do your research”, conspiracy theory noise we experience on social and other media of late. So may people seem to explicitly avoid the lessons learned by those that quite literally know better.
Is it hubris? Is it some kind of ego-game where we only trust the ideas we come up with ourselves (regardless of their veracity)? Or is it something else? It’s frustrating. And yet, given Seneca’s thoughts, it’s also nothing terribly new.
Do this: Trust the wise.
5. “Perhaps what I’m bored of is hype.”
Have I reached the Douglas Adams Inflection point (or is modern tech just a bit rubbish)? – Terence Eden – (blog)
The infection point I’m assuming is this one:
Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
While the age seems arbitrary (I’m well past it, and no, the latest inventions aren’t against any natural order, as far as I’m concerned), it represents a point at which people often say “OK, now, this is crazy. What’s the point?”
The reason this short essay spoke to me is it offers a more plausible reason for us each reaching our own personal “WTF moment”: hype.
I guess I have a low tolerance for over-hyped gimmicks which are forever doomed to change the world next year.
That I can empathize with.
Do this: don’t lose your sense of wonder, but remain skeptical as well, particularly when it comes to the marketing messages we’re inundated with.
6. “Most people are not evil, they’re just stupid.”
3 Hard Truths We All Need to Hear – Mark Manson – (YouTube)
That’s hard truth #2, and if it sounds familiar, it’s a restatement of Hanlon’s Razor, something I’ve been trying to keep in mind a lot in recent years. “Manson’s Addendum”:
Pretty much everything you see or read is some degree of stupidity.
It’s a pretty harsh view of the world, but it’s not wrong. I like to replace “stupidity” with “ignorance” to make the result feel a little less intentional, but seriously: there’s so much stupidity/ignorance. Much more than there is true evil.
Manson’s third truth also got points from me for essentially being something I’d pointed out a month or so ago.
Do this: Assume ignorance until proven otherwise.
7. “We can expect Excel to be around for a long time”
Excel Never Dies – Packy McCormick – (Not Boring blog)
This fascinating overview of Excel, and why it’s wonderful, taught me a new concept: The Lindy Effect.
… the longer something lasts, the longer it can be expected to last. Something that has been around for a year is expected to be around for another year, but something that has been around for 100 years is expected to be around for another 100 years.
Excel has been around for ~37 years.
Sadly, the effect doesn’t apply to everything. Like human lifespans.
Do this: The Lindy Effect is a fascinating mental model for those areas where it applies.
What I’m Reading
- The Expectation Effect – David Robson
- Discipline is Destiny – Ryan Holiday
- The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution – Walter Isaacson (audio)
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity – Ryan Holiday, Stephen Hanselman
- Letters from a Stoic – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
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