So, Who Are You? — 7 Takeaways No. 108

Contemplating Self

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1. “Learn something interesting every day”

Less Phone, More Nature: 34 Resolutions For a Better 2018 – Jason Zweig – (Wall Street Journal)

Yes, it’s a five year old list of resolutions, but I found it interesting and timeless. And as I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for interesting lists.

A random few:

  • Eat more crow. It’s the most nutritious of all brain foods.
  • Befriend someone at least 20 years younger than you, and someone at least 20 years older than you. Each of you will make the other smarter and better.
  • Check your facts — again. There’s a mistake in there somewhere; you just haven’t found it yet.
  • Donate blood. Part of you will help save someone’s life, and you’ll never know who it is.

The entire list is worth a scan.

Do this: “Tweet less; read more.”

2. “Writing is thinking.”

Let me write, I mean, think about it – Mike Crittenden – (Blog)

This caught my attention because it’s something I’ve felt deeply for a long time.

So because I’m a slow processor, I’m building the habit of telling people I need to go write about it rather than answering their question in realtime.

I’m a slow processor as well. I don’t do well spontaneously or extemporaneously. I want the ability to think about my words and what I’m trying to say. That’s writing.

That’s also why I prefer email to most other communication forms.

Do this: Think before you reply (regardless of how you reply).

3. “A long-term crisis of habitual loneliness”

How We Learned to Be Lonely – Arthur C. Brooks – (The Atlantic)

This was timely and hit home because of a personal blog post I’d recently written. I need to get out more.

It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Loneliness, like homelessness or poverty, tends to be self-perpetuating: Much as it is harder to get on your feet once you no longer have a place to sleep and shower, an address, or a phone, social isolation leads to behavior that leads to even more isolation.

It’s a vicious circle. The only solution is to be intentional about breaking the cycle.

Do this: To the extent that you can, get out more.

4. “Man is a social animal.”

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution – Walter Isaacson – (Audiobook)

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Innovators. The story of digital technology’s beginnings was absolutely fascinating. Of course there was much I already knew in concept, but much I did not, and certainly much I did not know to this level of detail. As the story progressed to be concurrent with my own experience, I repeatedly switched between thinking “oh, I remember” and “oh, I had no idea!”

My biggest takeaway from the book has nothing at all to do with technology, specifically, or its history, but the realization that so much of what we now take for granted was designed specifically to foster community, or was co-opted to do so. Connecting people drove and continues to drive the digital revolution.

Almost every digital tool, whether designed for it or not, was commandeered by humans for a social purpose: to create communities, facilitate communication, collaborate on projects, and enable social networking.

Do this: Connect

5. “There’s something intrinsically virtuous about putting fun on hold”

A radical idea for 2023 – Oliver Burkeman – (The Imperfectionist newsletter)

Spoiler: that’s an anti-takeaway. The “radical idea” for 2023 is simply this:

a good resolution for 2023 might be to cut yourself some slack.

The concept is simple: in a world where we’re constantly under pressure to do, to produce, to … whatever … the fact is we’re putting off “living”.

Life, after all, is finite – so if you’re ever going to take enjoyment from it, at some point you’re going to have to do so now.

Do this: Yes, cut yourself some slack.

6. “More positive feelings towards aging”

Let’s end ageism – Ashton Applewhite – (YouTube)

If we’re fortunate, we’ll all get old. It’s kind of like, the goal, right? And yet society is full of negative stereotypes about getting older, many of which are simply not true. I hear it frequently.

Much of it is about attitude.

People with more positive feelings towards aging walk faster, they do better on memory tests, they heal quicker, and they live longer. Even with brains full of plaques and tangles, some people stayed sharp to the end. What did they have in common? A sense of purpose.

Agism is real, but it starts within.

Do this: Don’t buy in to the stereotypes, whatever age you might be.

7. “So, who are you?”

The Daily Stoic – Ryan Holiday – (ebook)

We get asked this all the time. It’s right up there with “what do you do?”, and we treat it just as superficially.

And yet, in so many ways, it’s the question of our lives. What do you stand for? What difference are you making? What are your goals, your dreams? What’s your purpose? Who are you, really?

Have you taken the time to get clarity about who you are and what you stand for? Or are you too busy chasing unimportant things, mimicking the wrong influences, and following disappointing or unfulfilling or nonexistent paths?

Do this: Take the time.

What I’m Reading

In progress:


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