Light in the Dark — 7 Takeaways No. 99

"Light in the Dark" - AI generated: DALL-E.
“Light in the Dark” – AI generated: DALL-E.

(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. “Never bet against the person who just keeps showing up.”

The Difference Between Amateurs & Professionals – Sahil Bloom – (The Curiosity Chronicle newsletter)

An interesting “listicle”, of sorts. Eleven differences, but each with some explanation and exploration. While certainly aimed at entrepreneurs and business minded folks, the concepts apply to anyone wanting to achieve anything in life. It doesn’t matter whether you would ever consider calling yourself “professional”, there are things you can learn and approaches you can take from those who are.

Remember: Open mindsets rule the world.

Do this: Keep showing up.

2. “The belief that stress is harmful”

The Expectation Effect – David Robson – (ebook)

This book really has my attention. I’ve mentioned before and I’m sure I’ll mention it again. The key component of that takeaway? It’s a belief that stress is harmful.

An eight-year longitudinal study of more than 28,000 people, for example, found that high levels of anxiety and mental tension did indeed lead to a 43 percent increase in mortality— but only if the participants believed that it was doing them harm. People who were under high pressure but who believed it to have little effect on their health were actually less likely to die than those who experienced very little stress at all.

Emphasis mine. In this case, apparently believing makes it so.

What’s becoming apparent is how much of our ability, and even our health, is deeply affected by our mindset and our expectations — significantly more so than we typically consider.

Do this: Question your beliefs.

3. “The idea of ‘advertising medicine’”

Keeping You On Your Zs and Qs – Ernie Smith – (Tedium newsletter)

Fascinating overview of just how drugs get their names. Is it Prozac, fluoxetine, or N-methyl-3-phenyl-3-[4-(trifluoromethyl)phenoxy]propan-1-amine? Yes. Yes, it is. All three.

And the first one exists because of marketing, which I hadn’t really thought of until now.

“One of the most interesting recurrences in the British reactions to American live TV was shock at the idea of ‘advertising medicine’—to have even phrased it that way was so conspicuously not American,” Siddiqi told the outlet. “In the U.S. people are tasked with being informed customers, rather than simply beneficiaries of a healthcare system—with all the inequalities of access that implies.”

An interesting perspective, particularly the inequalities part.

Do this: Be an informed customer — because you have to be.

4. “Something more like liberation”

Everyone is (still) winging it – Oliver Burkeman – (The Imperfectionist newsletter)

The knowledge that everyone is making it up as they go is liberating.

After all, if everyone’s just winging it, that’s not merely a reason to feel better about yourself. It’s also a reason to get on and do whatever it was you’d been holding off from doing until you felt ready…

For some reason this seems to run parallel to a statement I often quote: “Be kind because everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”.

We are all fighting. We are all just winging it. We are all just … human.

Do this: Realize you’re so very not alone.

5. “Having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting”

I’m Staying on Twitter – Tom Nichols – (The Atlantic)

I normally try to steer clear of both technology and politics in these missives, and yet this is one that raises some important points that are worth considering; both if you use Twitter, and even if you don’t.

if you believe that it is important to combat disinformation, spread reliable information, and in general try to defend some basic notions of civility, social media is an important arena for doing all of those things

The argument the author makes is that it’s important for contrary voices to remain, rather than to abandon, the platform. We need balanced voices to counter the expected influx of hate and misinformation (which has already begun). I don’t disagree.

But the point extends beyond Twitter. It’s easy — perhaps too easy — to leave and/or ignore situations where contrary opinions are discouraged or overwhelmed by extremist rhetoric. And yet it’s important for sanity to be heard.

On the other hand, we also need to preserve our personal sanity. Sometimes leaving is exactly what’s needed, in an act of self preservation.

Do this: Make a choice that’s right for you, of course, in any situation. But realize your position needs active voices as well. (Side note: you’ll find all my socials and more here.)

6. “Smartphones are a necessity in today’s world.”

Skip the Digital Detox—Abstinence Won’t Work (But This Does) – Nir Eyal – (Nir and Far blog/newsletter)

I can’t imagine life without my smartphone. I mean, I can, but it would be significantly less productive, connected, and convenient. Smartphones are wonderful tools in today’s connected society.

But, like any tool, it can be abused and over-used. One recommended solution is the “digital detox” — a period, usually days or weeks, with zero usage. Beyond being impractical, it’s not effective in the long term. More effective is a more mindful (my term) reduction in usage of one hour a day. A study bore this out and raised some interesting (positive) side effects.

Do this: “…consider whether you’re spending time with your device in a way that matches your values, not the tech company’s.”

7. “Get better at finding the light in the dark”

The Profile Dossier: Laurie Santos, the Happiness Scientist – Polina Pompliano – (The Profile newsletter)

In this profile, Pompliano points to several resources — categorized by “Read”, “Listen”, and “Watch”, to accommodate your preferred consumption style – relating to Santos’ work. They’re all interesting.

Pompliano also shares a few of her own takeaways. One that I find relevant of late:

Get better at finding the light in the dark

Of course, happiness is much more complex than that, or any pithy collection of takeaways. But those takeaways, like my own, are engineered to make you think, and in thinking, perhaps take action, improve your view, or change your approach.

Do this: Look for light.

What I’m Reading

In progress:


Support 7 Takeaways

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

Pick your own level!

Leave a Comment