Everything is Your Fault – 7 Takeaways for June 20, 2021

Your/My Fault
(Image: canva.com)

Thanks to everyone who reported the weird characters in the last two 7 Takeaways emails. I honestly don’t know what changed, but put in place a hack solution I’ve used elsewhere that should clear things up. One thing I do know is that I hate character encoding. (If you don’t know what that means, be thankful.)

1. “The world works better when we get to know each other.”

34 Mistakes on the Way to 34 Years Old – Ryan Holiday – (blog)

Yes, I’m still learning from the youngsters. Smile Holiday shares a number of mistakes he hopes to learn from. There’s much wisdom in his takeaways. A few random tidbits:

  • it is very expensive to be cheap
  • I have never once lost my temper and afterwards said, “I’m so glad I did that.”
  • You have to speak to be heard.
  • Communication is not conflict.
  • The truly life-changing decisions are never simple.

Do this: reread his mistakes periodically. Many will feel hauntingly familiar. Try to learn from them.

2. “twice the amount of our mortgage”

The True Cost of College Is My Sanity – Ashley Strahm – (Medium)

Yes, it’s a story about student debt. And yes, it’s horrific. That you can pay minimum payments, not missing a single one, and have the principle of your loan continue to increase was an eye-opener, even though it should have been obvious. This person did everything right, and continues to do so, and yet:

Even as the pursuit of knowledge calls out to me, the shadowy nightmare of its cost keeps me far from ever considering it.

The cost of education is horrific. Student loans are horrific. The pressure to pursue higher education over what are often better paying and less costly alternatives is horrific.

As bad as this individual’s scenario is, it’s just a small window into a much larger problem. So much of our system is broken.

Do this: Familiarize yourself with the cost/benefit ratio of higher education in the US. You may be surprised.

3. “‘Decide everything is your fault.’ That’s how you gain enormous control over your life.”

The Straight-Talking Life Truths Worth Remembering When You Feel Lost – Tim Denning – (Medium)

The “truths” Denning lists actually come from Derek Siver’s book “How to Live”. I’ve started Siver’s book, but am finding it a difficult read, as I think I mentioned before. Denning’s selection of a few, and his commentary on each, feels more approachable.

My selection — deciding that everything is your fault — is a tough one, and honestly, it’s not always possible. But it harkens to a very Stoic philosophy stating that while we cannot necessarily control what happens to us, we absolutely can control our response. Treating things as our own fault is one way to take responsibility for our response.

Do this: take things as your fault, or not, but consider your response either way.

4. “Ocean Waves”

The Pacific Ocean – Mother Nature  – (Life)

Sometimes you need to stop and take a break. That’s what was on the agenda this week. My takeaway? The sound of the Pacific Ocean as I sat on a windy beach with my wife and dogs. It’s exceptionally soothing. Highly recommended. Five stars. Will visit again.

Do this: take a break.

5. “. . . the only path to healing is for us to improve the way we engage with one another.”

Just Because Something Sucks, Doesn’t Mean it’s Worth a Tweet – Douglas Rushkoff – (Medium)

After my own brush with anger this weekend, this article spoke to me.

we simply must stop interpreting every action everyone takes through the lens of grievance and victimization.

People seem to be taking everything (and I do mean everything) so seriously, and so personally, and getting downright angry when they feel even the slightest bit offended.

Do this: Take a breath. There’s a really good chance that it’s not about you at all. And above all, be kind.

6. “The most important economic resource is trust in the future…”

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari – (ebook)

Thus comment, in a section discussing global economics, made me pause. We often consider economic resources more like tangible things (hard goods to be bought and sold), or information (news, data, and the like), or even a country’s ability to innovate to generate more of those things. When you look at the stock market, though, it’s not uncommon to think it follows no recognizable, sensible algorithm at all. And yet, it does. It’s a tangible representation of investors’ trust — or lack thereof — in the future.

Do this: consider how many decisions you make every day that boil down to your expectations of the future — be it events, economics, or something else.

7. “Writing is never a waste of time”

One Million Views Later – Jared Brock – Medium

I like being reminded of what it takes for writing to work. Particularly one of Brock’s takeaways:

Aim for quality and quantity. Step up to the plate and swing. Most days you’ll strike out. Some days you’ll hit a single or a double. Every once in a while you’ll hit a homer or a grand slam. But you need at-bats.

I do this with Ask Leo!. A homer or two, with a few thousand at-bats along the way. I needed to be reminded that there, and in my other writing efforts, it takes both quality and quantity. And ya gotta show up.

Do this: show up.

What I’m Reading

In progress (also on GoodReads):


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