Everyone Filters What They Say – 7 Takeaways No. 162

We all wear a mask.

A character holding a smiling mask away from their face, revealing a more somber or anxious expression underneath. The character is brightly colored and has exaggerated, expressive features typical of Pixar characters. The setting is vibrant and detailed, reflecting Pixar's signature animation style. The focus is on the emotional contrast between the mask and the character's true expression, capturing the theme of hidden emotions behind a facade.
(Image: DALL-E 3)

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1. “One can fight evil but against stupidity one is helpless.”

Henry Miller on Turning 80, Fighting Evil, And Why Life is the Best Teacher – Shane Parrish – (Farnam Street blog)

This relatively short piece is mostly quotes from Miller’s On Turning Eighty. There are wonderful insights.

All we ever really have is the present, but very few of us ever live it. I am neither a pessimist nor an optimist. To me the world is neither this nor that, but all things at once, and to each according to his vision.

I love the “each according to his vision” thought. Our journey is characterized more by how we interpret and react to life than it is the life events themselves.

On Turning Eighty is what’s called a chapbook (I had to look it up), and only 200 were ever printed in 1972. And it’s not available any other way.

Do this: Live. (The linked article above is worth 6 minutes, too.)

#evil #stupidity #attitude #live

2. “Kodawari”

Romanticizing Kodawari – Vicky Zhao – (Intersectional Thinking newsletter)

Introduced me to an interesting concept, from Japan, with a lovely little backstory. The concept is simple.

It means to be particular about something. To pay too much attention to something that’s irrelevant. To get stuck on something small.

And yet, even when technically irrelevant … it’s not.

When you know something simply has to be done this way. Despite people telling you it doesn’t make common sense. And when you effortlessly sacrifice, beauty follows. Perfection follows. Money follows.

Do this: Ask yourself “what are you effortlessly sacrificing to stay true?”

#kodawari #beauty #perfection

3. “The dread hypothesis”

Boeing’s Door Disaster in Perspective – David Epstein – (Range Widely newsletter)

Flying remains demonstrably safer than driving. And yet many people fear flying much more. The “dread hypothesis” is the first time I’ve seen this put into more general terms.

because people fear high-profile low-probability events, they will end up embracing behavior that is lower profile but actually higher risk

It makes sense. To begin with, we’re not rational beings, much as we might like to think we are. We fear what we don’t understand (who really understands how a massive metal tube can stay aloft?), and we feel more comfortable with situations in which we are in control (we trust our driving much more than some anonymous individuals at the head of that metal tube). And yet, the numbers don’t lie. The essay includes several.

It’s an interesting view of our base irrationality.

Do this: Be rational.

#rationality #dread #risk

4. “Admitting you’re wrong isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.”

Clear Thinking: Turning Ordinary Moments into Extraordinary Results – Shane Parrish – (ebook)

The chapter I’m reading on self-confidence really leverages the previous chapter on self-knowledge, without directly mentioning it. Self confidence really comes from having an honest understanding of your abilities and weaknesses, what you know and what you know you don’t know, and what you’ve accomplished and where you’ve failed. All this combines to create a level of self-awareness that makes us better at almost everything we do.

The most valuable people, …, weren’t the ones with the best initial ideas, but the ones with the ability to quickly change their minds.

There are many nuances to this, and the ability to set aside your ego and change your mind when appropriate is only one of them. I highlighted many related and important concepts.

Do this: Be open and honest … with yourself.

#self-confidence #self-awareness #ego

5. “Try a new cheese every month”

It’s Winter. Act Like It. – Kate Welshofer – (Newsletter/Blog)

I just found this a nice contrarian take on New Year mentality.

Mother Nature quietly listens and through the gloom and dark and cold seems to whisper, “look around you. Would this not be a great time to rest, reset, maybe make some soup and — oh I dunno — consider setting all this worry over blooming and growing aside for now? Might you, perhaps,” she continues, “follow the lead of the rest of the creatures great and small with whom you share this Earth and use this time to gather some strength for the coming Spring?”

Do what works for you, of course, but don’t feel forced to follow the “New Year, New You” mentality.

Do this: Gather some strength for the coming year. We’re gonna need it.

#new year #strength

6. “Everyone filters what they say”

Information That Would Get Your Attention – Morgan Housel – (Collab Fund blog)

There’s one section of this essay that got my attention because it dovetails with something we keep hearing, saying, and have difficulty incorporating: we have no idea what other people are going through.

Everything you know about people – everything everyone knows about people – comes from what someone was willing to say, or write down, or that was observed in action.

Everyone shares only tiny fragments of themselves.

… people are 100x more anxious, worried, and self-conscious than they let on to be

Can confirm. The essay touches on much more than this aspect, but this seems one of the more important, and actionable ones.

Do this: Remember that everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.


7. “This beastly election!”

It Can’t Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis – (ebook)

I saw this book recommended by Ryan Holiday recently (If You Only Read A Few Books In 2024, Read These). Honestly, it really is a book that I believe more people should read. It’s an 80 year old chronicle of exactly what’s happening today.

Oh, my dears, this beastly election! Beastly! Seems as if it’s breaking up every town, every home

This year is going to be a very bumpy ride, I’m afraid. And I’m also afraid for its conclusion. Perhaps one way we can salvage some hope is by educating ourselves and realizing that it can happen here, because it’s happening right now.

Do this: Read the book, if you can.


What I’m Reading

In progress:


A full list of my common sources is on the sources page.

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1 thought on “Everyone Filters What They Say – 7 Takeaways No. 162”

  1. Another reason people fear high-profile low-probability events more than low-profile higher probability events is because of their lower probability, they become highly viewed news items. There are several fatal car crashes every day that only make it into the local news reports. If a plane crashes anywhere in the world, it makes international headlines on all news shows and newspapers.


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