I’ve Been So Lucky In Life – 7 Takeaways No. 166

Ranging from appreciating a lucky life to dealing with inevitable assholery, with stops along the way including obstacles, stereotypes, friendship, and more.

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1. “Assholery is inevitable”

The Secret Power of Assholery – Annie Scott – (Midlife Mess with Annie Scott newsletter)

Not only inevitable, but often downright healthy. Scott makes the case that we all need to accept a little assholery into our lives. By that she means that people-pleasers (and we’re all people-pleasers to some degree) need boundaries, even though it might sometimes make us feel like assholes.

People-pleasing is never without cost.

It’s not that we need to be OK with people thinking we’re assholes, but many of the boundary-setting choices we make rarely have that as a result to begin with. Boundaries are healthy and often increase the respect and consideration of others. Naturally nothing is black and white — there’s no cause to be what you might consider an asshole all the time — but neither is it useful to avoid it at all costs.

Do this: Set boundaries.


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2. “Persuasive people don’t argue”

16 Strange but Beautiful Paradoxes In Life – Andy Murphy – (Change Your Mind Change Your Life, Medium)

Paradoxes are both fun and educational. They make you think about their apparent contradiction. For example, the takeaway:

Persuasive people don’t argue – they observe, listen, and ask thoughtful questions instead. They live a life of authenticity and curiosity and that’s enough to inspire change.

Listening to persuade? Indeed. And yet, how many people enter their “discussions” with their ears and minds closed?

Do this: Listen


3. “Use the Difficulty”

30 Pieces of Business Advice, Use the Difficulty, & More – Sahil Bloom – (Curiosity Chronicle)

Bloom shares a short video of Michael Caine telling a story of when something didn’t go as planned during a rehearsal — a chair prevented him from entering a scene — and the advice he got from a fellow actor.

Use the difficulty…if it’s a comedy, fall over it, if it’s a drama, pick it up and smash it.

This is very close to the Stoic principle of “The Obstacle is the Way”. Life throws difficulties at us, and we have choices to make as a result. Often the best choice is not to avoid, but to embrace and turn the situation in an unexpected direction.

Do this: Use the difficulties in your life.

#difficulty #obstacles

4. ‘Know how to like things “correctly”’

Taste Games – (Dynomight Internet Newsletter)

A fascinating collection of thoughts on why we like what we like. It can be so much more complex than you might think.

People like sneakers because, in their social context, it benefits them to like sneakers.

“In their social context”, and “it benefits them” are the two unexpected aspects. So much of what we like is all about comparison and social status, it’s scary.

The author describes an assortment of “games” and how they affect what we do or don’t like. There’s no real conclusion or answer to why we like what we like, just some additional interesting speculation and possibilities.

Do this: Think about why you like what you like.


5. “Stereotypes”

The Revised Psychology of Human Misjudgment – Charlie Munger – (Farnam Street blog)

In typical Munger style, this is long and dense, so I’m taking my time with it. The item that caught my attention today was in a section discussing how “Influence-from-Mere-Association Tendency” can affect our ability to think and/or draw conclusions. Even just considering the “average” of some classification can mislead us.

the average dimension in some group will not reliably guide […] to the dimension of some specific item

That meaning no one is truly average, and treating them as such is always off the mark by some degree.

Do this: Pay attention to the stereotypes you use, even unconsciously.


6. “Stop having hard conversations with people who don’t want to change.”

This Year, Let Go Of The People Who Aren’t Ready To Love You – Johneri’O Scott – (Thought Catalog)

Our natural inclination is to try to be all things to all people. To try to do whatever is required to make others love us, particularly in our in-person social circle.

The truth is that you are not for everyone, and everyone is not for you.

And that’s OK. In fact, I’d expand on that: who is or is not for you changes. Close friends and acquaintances come and go throughout our lives. That’s merely a reflection of the fact that neither they, nor we, are static and unchanging. It’s OK to acknowledge that and let go.

The most precious, important thing that you have in your life is your energy.

Knowing when it’s energy better spent elsewhere, as challenging as that might be, is key. The essay goes into things a little deeper (including our desire to change those around us who aren’t ready to change).

Do this: Love those who are ready, fiercely.

#friendship #love

7. “I’ve been so lucky in life.”

That Time I Met the Luckiest Woman Alive – Michael Jensen – (Brent and Michael Are Going Places substack)

At the end of a 20km walk(!), the author sits down on a bench next to a random older woman, and a conversation ensues. He shares the highlights in this essay.

“You should also laugh as much as possible. Deep belly laughs are marvelous. They help with the pain.” She hesitated. “Because there is pain — a bit more every year.”

The woman, 93, shares some of her story, and many of the anecdotes seem anything but lucky. But her attitude shines through.

I found it a very uplifting story.

Do this: Laugh. And talk to strangers.

#luck #aging #perspective

What I’m Reading

In progress:


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

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