Judge Less, Observe More – 7 Takeaways No. 167

Another wide range of topics this week: Facts is facts, Adulting, Over-sensitive Triggering, Complaining, Working hard, Using summer vacation wisely, and Simplifying life. And a Corgi link, too.

A peaceful beach setting under a clear, serene sky. The beach is quiet and pristine, with soft golden sands stretching towards a calm, azure sea. The gentle lapping of waves provides a soothing background. In this tranquil scene, an older man with a serene, content expression sits on a wooden bench, placed on the beach, facing the sea. He is dressed casually, suitable for the beach environment, and he seems completely at ease, fully immersed in observing his surroundings. His gaze suggests a deep appreciation for the beauty of the moment, embodying a sense of peace and mindfulness.
(Image: DALL-E 3)

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1. “It doesn’t matter if you believe in gravity or not. It’s real.”

Thinking About Facts – David Gerrold – (Patreon, open)

With gravity as a jumping off point (so to speak), Gerrold covers a range of things that are, indeed, factual. Yet, some are also things some do not believe.

Beliefs and opinions are not facts. They are positions without evidence. They are wishful thinking. They are your ego in disguise. This is a fact as well — a fact about how we don’t really look at facts.

Regardless of if you believe the assorted facts he outlines, use this as an opportunity to remind yourself to be skeptical, look for evidence, and recognize opinions as opinions, not facts.

Do this: Focus on facts.

#facts #skepticism

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2. “I want to maintain my innocence”

I Don’t Want to Grow Up – Elle Griffin – (Oldster substack)

A very nice examination of that various things we lose as we grow out of childhood, and the benefits of perhaps intentionally hanging on to some of them.

I’m not suggesting any of us put our heads in the sand and imagine them away. But what is the better thing to do with them: To complain about what’s gone wrong? Or to imagine a way out? As the Cheshire cat puts it in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”

To see things through the eyes of a child is not a new concept. It’s just not something most people do.

Do this: See.

#innocence #wonder #possibility

3. “We are prickly these days”

In Touch With The Inner Adult – Stephen Fry – (The Dry Corner substack)

I was pleasantly surprised to discover Stephen Fry on Substack. This essay discusses his observation that as adults, we are more likely to continue to enjoy, and admit enjoying, things that in prior decades might have been considered “childish”. It’s an interesting read.

My real takeaway is this observation at the beginning:

Along with snowflakery and triggering comes a strong hypersensitivity to criticism or, most painfully, scorn. Even if criticism or scorn were never there, just a friendly taking note.

We seem more easily offended than ever, frequently finding criticism when there was nothing more than an observation.

Do this: Being offended is a choice. Choose wisely.


4. “Judge less, observe more.”

The Happy Way to Drop Your Grievances (gift link) – Arthur C. Brooks – (The Atlantic)

Complaining is one of my hot buttons. You might even say I like to complain about complainers. We all do it, of course, but some just excel at it. And there’s a cost.

You can always find something to complain about. But if you do so habitually, that is probably hurting you, bringing down others, and making you a less attractive person to be around.

As always, there’s no black and white here. Complaining with purpose can change the world. Complaining just to complain, not so much.

Do this: Pay attention to your complaints.


5. “This is what it feels like to get better at something”

LinkedIn post – Nir Eyal

Eyal uses that takeaway as a push-back to imposter syndrome, particularly the feeling that if doing something is hard, we must not be doing it right. Especially if it looks easy for everyone else (spoiler: it rarely is).

My take, though, is that it applies in many, many other cases. Even if we know we’re passably good at something, we all get tired. It all seems like so much work, and we wonder if there’s a point.

There is. Besides accomplishing whatever that work is, it being hard is often a sign that you’re getting better. A commenter also added “When you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s a sign that you’re learning something new”

Do this: Keep getting better.

#imposter-syndrome #self-improvement

6. “Pigeonholes are for pigeons.”

A transformative summer – Seth Godin – (blog)

Technically, this targets young adults who are expecting a “summer vacation”, or some period of “I don’t have to go to school” time in the summer. I think it applies to any of us who have some down time ahead of us. The idea is simply this:

While it’s tempting to see a summer as a break, simply a chance to rest up and recharge, the ones we end up remembering and treasuring are the foundational ones

He encourages us to do something with our breaks and includes a list of ideas that grow our skills while helping others.

One of the common complaints I hear from young people wanting to get a job is the familiar catch-22: you can’t get a job without experience, but you need experience to get a job. So? Make your own experience. It looks very good on a resume (or LinkedIn profile). Besides, it’s also a chance to learn what you want to learn, as opposed to what you’re “supposed” to learn. Breaks and down time are perfect for doing this.

Do this: Keep learning.

#learning #experience

7. Learn to say no

This Is What Happens When You Simplify Your Life – John P. Weiss – (Medium)

You don’t have to go all Marie Kondo, but I’m guessing there’s more in your life than you actually need, and it’s holding you back in some way. Weiss shares stories of people making changes towards the simple, but the real value for me is a straightforward list of practical/pragmatic things you can do.

People are happy to spend your time for you if you let them.

Saying no is, of course, just one of them, but it’s an important one. It’s just too easy to set your own priorities aside in order to say yes. The result, of course, is overwhelm. It takes being mindful of both your priorities and how what you’re being asked maps to those priorities. And practice. It takes practice.

Do this: “It’s never too late to organize and simplify your life.”

#simplicity #balance #no

Random Links & Thoughts

What I’m Reading

In progress:


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

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