1. “It is wrenching and infuriating, humbling and perplexing, tragic and seemingly hopeless.”
War, Again… – Dan Rather – (Steady newsletter)
It never ends. I can’t remember a day when there wasn’t conflict in the middle east, and when there weren’t broken promises of peace. It’s sad and disheartening, and everything else in the quote above.
Rather makes this point:
We are all shaped by our experiences, histories, biases, and self interests. In this case, you can add the fraught overlays of religion, nationalism, and culture.
While that’s absolutely a characterization of the parties in this conflict, as well as for each and every observer, I find it a more general truism that more people need to internalize. It applies to every situation, in every country, and to everybody.
Do this: stop, and recognize how your ideals have been shaped by your experiences, histories, biases, self-interests, religion, nationalism, and culture.
2. “One friend for life is worth a thousand acquaintances.”
You Don’t Need New Friends – You need to not lose the friends you have – Niklas Göke – (Medium)
Not sure I’m 100% on this (I feel like could use some new … er .. additional friends), but the concept is, indeed, spot-on: we don’t invest enough in the friends we have and have had for a very long time. I was reminded of this earlier today when I joined a clubhouse chat room with several internet entrepreneur friends going back nearly 20 years. And realized that in two days I’ll be having (virtual) lunch with two individuals I first met nearly 40 years ago.
Those are relationships worth investing in.
Do this: invest.
3. “Having loads of browser tabs open is secretly multitasking.”
Giving up These 6 Things Can Get You Closer to Doing Deep Work – Tim Denning – (Medium)
Naturally, being a content creator, I’m interested in being productive. I shy away from “productivity hacks”, but try to pay attention to what I might call “best practices”. Multi-tasking is known to be anti-productive. Single-tasking, focus, deep work, whatever you call it is more effective. I’ve already arranged my on-screen workspace to allow me to focus on what I’m working on, but this little takeaway goes one step further.
People LOVE browser tabs. I hear regularly from those with dozens and dozens open (and wondering why their system is slow ). I have a love-hate relationship with them. I realize their distraction, but also acknowledge their usefulness. The browser I have open as I type this has tabs open. Mostly sources for 7takeaways, or research relating to what I’m posting here. It feels right, but it’s something I need to constantly monitor.
Do this: focus. Focus in ways that are appropriate to what you’re doing, but the ability to focus on whatever that is is g0ld.
4. “English is the mother tongue of the internet.”
3 Ways to Gain a Writer’s Edge as a Non-Native Speaker – Leo Sharp – (Medium)
I’ll happily admit this grabbed my attention because that takeaway above agrees with my perceived ideas. But the article goes deeper, examining ways that non-native speakers can actually take advantage of their dualism to write (proper) English that still stands out.
I hear from enough non-native speakers to completely agree that a) English matters, no matter where you’re from b) being good at English sets you apart — also no matter where you’re from. (Meaning it applies to native speakers as well.)
Do this: Particularly if you speak a second language, have a look at the techniques and see how they might help. Then write better English.
5. “Mothers have suffered most.”
How the pandemic has upended the lives of working parents – The Economist – (Magazine)
With each announcement of school closures the Mumsnet “swearometer”—which measures the number of obscenities in posts—spiked.
They’re not kidding. There’s a chart.
The pandemic has been hard on many, but nowhere has it hit harder than on working moms. Chances are you know of someone in this exact position and watched as the stress and frustration climbed.
Highly educated women, who tend to be able to work from home, have struggled to juggle their jobs and child care.
We have family members in this situation, and it’s incredibly difficult for them. We’ve done what we can to help, of course, but still. There’s only so much you can do, particularly within pandemic restrictions.
Do this: yes, it’s a lengthy article, but it’s worth it. After reading it, think of the working parents you’re sure to know — you’ll recognize them in the article, I’m certain. Do what you can to reach out. (And if you see yourself in the article — take a breath. And reach out to those who can help you.)
6. “RNA, good for vaccines, can also be used as a pesticide”
RNA, good for vaccines, can also be used as a pesticide – The Economist – (Magazine)
This article makes me sad, but not for the reason you think. The approach is promising, for certain. While it has a way to go, and I’m certain there are problems to be solved along the way, this could make quite the impact in several areas. Honeybees are an example cited in the article.
Re-read that headline imagining you’re an anti-vaxxer.
You just became an anti-pesticide zealot.
Maybe it’s just the headline that makes me sad, but the number of unfounded, anti-science, knee-jerk reactions this promising approach will undoubtedly generate concerns me.
Do this: trust science. Watch out for your own knee-jerk reactions.
7. “A reporter’s job is to be skeptical but not cynical.”
A Note to the Class of 2021 – Dan Rather – (Steady, newsletter)
And it turns out this approach to life doesn’t just benefit journalists.
There’s so much gold in this essay to the class of 2021 that it was hard to pick just one item. The first half is semi-traditional words to the class (all valuable), but about halfway through he pivots to the topic of skepticism versus cynicism. We must remain skeptical, but avoiding cynicism is a challenge of epic proportions right now.
I find myself wishing that I’d started reading Rather sooner, and hoping he remains with us for many, many years to come.
Do this: Stay skeptical, but hopeful. Read Rather’s essay.
What I’m Reading
In progress (also on GoodReads):
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
- The Unstoppable Creative: Creative People Are Meant To Change The World – Todd Brison
- 90 Days of Creative Motivation -Todd Brison
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity – Ryan Holiday, Stephen Hanselman
- On This Day in History Sh!t Went Down –
You’ll find all the books I’ve read or am reading as part of this project on the site’s Reading List page.