Grumpy and Stingy and Hard to Please – 7 Takeaways No. 181

The internet is doomed? Flexibility leads to enjoyment. Relationships matter. Your attitude matters. Your inner gremlin. Stuff happens. Looking for wisdom.

A grumpy-looking corgi sitting on a couch. The corgi has a displeased expression with narrowed eyes and a frown. The couch is in a cozy living room setting, with cushions and a coffee table nearby. The background includes a window showing a sunny day outside. The corgi's fur is fluffy and detailed, with shades of tan and white.
(Image: DALL-E 3)

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1. “A race to the bottom”

The Toilet Theory of the Internet (Gift link) – Charlie Warzel – (The Atlantic)

One of the more controversial things happening on the internet today is the expanded use of AI, and specifically what Google is doing with it in their search. Once a list of results from presumably relevant web pages across the internet, it’s slowly transforming into an AI generated summary. Searchers may not feel the need to click further.

If you have an opportunity with technology to help people get answers to their questions, to take more of the work out of it, why wouldn’t we want to go after that?

While I understand the sentiment, it’s a complex issue. It removes what’s turned into an important incentive for content to be created in the first place, or in a way useful to the most people possible. Personally I’m not finding Google’s results as useful as they’ve been in the past (due to other factors), and I’m not sure this optimization for short attention spans reading on the toilet is a long-term improvement.

Do this: Search more deeply.

#search #internet #attention-span

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2. “Pay close attention, do more of what feels good, and less of what doesn’t”

A more joyful business – Rob Hardy – (The Ungated Life)

The essay focuses mostly on the author’s own entrepreneurial path. Regardless of an unrelenting focus on growth or a specific goal, he’s shifting to what he feels is a more realistic approach that prioritizes his own satisfaction in where the journey takes him.

Whatever a human being desires for themselves will not come about exactly as they first imagined it or first laid it out in their minds. – Sam Harris

In other words, no plan survives contact with the enemy. Realizing that, and being willing to adapt as a result, leads to a more enjoyable experience.

The same is true for life.

Do this: Adapt.

#entrepreneurship #life

3. “The key to living a healthier and happier life.”

We Need a Witness to Our Lives – John P. Weiss – (Blog)

Good relationships. That’s the key.

People will argue about the best path to happiness in life, but I’ve concluded that for most of us, being in a committed, loving relationship will lead to healthier outcomes.

My own personal experience agrees.

What’s troubling, though, is that we’re in a period truly testing our ability to have healthy relationships at all, much less long term committed relationships. Be it the perception of divisiveness, the loneliness of isolation, or the lack of human contact fostered by technology, healthy relationships are more difficult than ever.

Do this: Tend to your relationships.

#loneliness #relationships

4. “If we think our lives are over in old age, they will be.”

Want to Live Longer? Change Your Mind About Aging – Nir Eyal – (Nir and Far blog)

Definitely a case of confirming and supporting my preconceptions. This time with data.

Participants with high “positive self-perceptions of aging” died later than those with negative views. By the time the study concluded over two decades later, those with a positive view of aging had taken over seven and a half years longer to reach the same probability of dying as those with a negative view.

I know, I know, attitude isn’t just a switch you can flip. Nor is it a constant – I have my days. We all do. But it matters.

When you think you can do something, you attempt it. Even if you fail, your chances of success are greater than those who think they can’t do something and don’t try.

I encounter folks who feel “too old” for technology all the time, and I find it one of the saddest things. They’ve lost before they’ve even started. The same is true for life.

Do this: Notice your attitude. Shape your attitude.

#aging #attitude

5. “Grumpy and stingy and hard to please”

The gremlin inside my head – Kasra – (Bits of Wonder newsletter)

The paragraph that got to me was this:

I saw the way the gremlin channels all the maladies of our time—social media addiction, hyper-individualism, the commoditized market for attention and companionship. The gremlin is the twitter hivemind, the vengeful mob, the older sibling you could never please.

Aside from not having an older sibling, that characterizes some of what rattles around in my head every day.  So much chatter. So much anxiety. So much fear.

And yet, the gremlin can’t be eradicated. It can only be understood, and in doing so, some of its harsher effects can be mitigated.

Do this: Understand your gremlin.

#gremlin #anxiety #fear

6. “We like to believe the world is just and fair.”

What we gain by recognising the role of chance in life – Mark R Rank – (Psyche)

Spoiler: life isn’t just and fair. And yet it’s such a difficult concept to accept. We want fairness. We want justice. What we get is randomness.

Chance and luck have little interest in our notions of balance and deservedness. In life, bad things can happen to good people, and good things can happen to bad people. Accidents take place, illnesses strike, and unlucky breaks occur indiscriminately.

Our world is much more random than we like to believe. We can take advantage of that. But the essay, which is a great overview of the entire concept and prevalence of luck, ends by pointing out how we can use that knowledge for comfort.

Do this: Recognize the randomness around you.

#luck #chance #fairness #justice

7. “Along with knowledge, you must seek wisdom”

Simple Truths: Clear & Gentle Guidance on the Big Issues in Life – Shane Parrish – (Farnam Street blog)

This was interesting on two fronts. First, it’s nothing more than a collection of highlights Parrish made while reading Kent Nerburn’s Simple Truths: Clear & Gentle Guidance on the Big Issues in Life. It’s not a summary, it’s not a condensation, it’s more than a “listicle”, it’s a list of those items Parrish found interesting enough to highlight. It’s a fascinating technique that I may try myself sometime.

Second, the truths themselves are wide ranging, and valuable. There’s not really a single takeaway for me, I highlighted many.

…strength based in force is a strength people fear. Strength based in love is a strength people crave.”

It’s worth a read.

Do this: Seek wisdom.


Additional Interesting Links

  • UDM14 – Google search results, from Google, without the fluff.

What I’m Reading

In progress:


A full list of my common sources is on the sources page, and the books I’ve read are listed on my Reading List page.

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