Put on the Tights – 7 Takeaways for September 19, 2021

I might just have something

I realized the other day, based on the occasional feedback I get and the number of subscribers to 7Takeaways, that there might be more to this little side project of mine than just an exercise for myself. Others seem to find value, which is pretty cool. Honestly, knowing you’re out there helps keep me on my toes.

All that leads to my asking that you consider sharing 7Takeaways with a friend or acquaintance you think might be interested. I’ve changed the home page to be a little more “here’s what’s in it for you” and less “here’s why I did this for me”. Smile

Either way, thanks!

1. “caught up in the algorithm”

A group of moms on Facebook built an island of good-faith vaccine debate in a sea of misinformation – (Washington Post)

I’ve run across this one a couple of times in my daily research for Not All News is Bad. The entire topic’s probably a tad too controversial for that publication, but reading through the article I realized a couple of things:

  • Civil discourse is possible.
  • It’s a ton of work right now.

Amid the online scare stories and anti-vaccine memes, an army of local influencers and everyday users is waging a grass-roots campaign on Facebook, Reddit and other platforms to gently win over the vaccine skeptical. They’re spending hours moderating forums, responding to comments, linking to research studies, and sharing tips on how to talk to fearful family members.

(Emphasis mine.)

The amount of effort to corral a discussion and keep it civil and factual is immense. And it won’t convince everyone. “Usually, the hardcore anti-vaxxers cannot follow the rules,” and are quickly booted. But the group, and the movement, is having an impact as the less radical are presented with coherent discussion and unbiased facts.

Do this: Remember civil discourse? Do more of that. And if you can’t . . . stay out of the discussion.

2. “we simply want to be heard and understood”

The Poison Of Anger – David Gerrold – (Patreon post, open to public)

Gerrold, a Sci-Fi writer you may recognize, often writes about the reactions of various people (most often trolls) to his various and sundry public and social media posts. Anger, both that of the troll, and his own, is a common, if not always explicit, topic.

I found this an interesting essay on anger, including some tips on how to handle it in yourself and in others. Perhaps most notable is the closing line:

The single worst decision that anyone can make is the one based on emotion.

Especially negative emotions, like anger.

Do this: Be mindful of your own anger, and your response to anger in others.

3. “put on the tights”

Life Happens in Public. Get Used to It. – Ryan Holiday – (Blog)

In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Courage is Calling, Holiday recounts a story explaining why Jerry Weintraub never became an actor, even though he wanted to, while classmate James Caan did.

Sent to get clothes for a dance class—taught by Martha Graham, no less—Jerry and James went to a store on Broadway. As he tried on tights, Jerry, a tough kid from the Bronx, took one look in the mirror and knew there was no way he’d ever let himself be seen this way in public. James Caan, who came from the same neighborhood, whose father had been a butcher, who had the same view of himself as a tough guy, looked in the same mirror. He did not let self-consciousness win.

I’ve seen so many people sidestep their potential because of fear. Fear of speaking, fear of public speaking, fear of failing, fear of . . . so many things. There’s plenty to be fearful of, don’t get me wrong, but the reality is what you’re afraid of often manifests only in your own head. And even if it didn’t, it’s rarely worth letting fear prevent you from achieving all that you might want to. Even if it requires wearing tights.

If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid.
– Epictetus

Do this: think about what you’re afraid of, and whether it’s stopping you from improving, or reaching your dreams.

4. “. . . banks themselves are land-lorders”

People Don’t Rent Because They’re Broke — They’re Broke Because They Rent – Jared A. Brock – (Medium)

Brock’s premise is that for-profit landlording is evil. It encourages individuals and banks to purchase housing, thus inflating the prices beyond the grasp of the average consumer, and turn around and rent it to them at rates that prevent them from ever building the assets needed to purchase a home. Besides banks buying up homes to then turn around and rent, Airbnb is another extreme example of homes being purchased not to serve as family dwellings, but to generate vacation rental income.

As I said, it’s an extreme position. I’m not sure how I feel about it at that extreme. Certainly the system is being abused, but absolute positions like this, while thought-provoking, don’t actually do anything to provide a pragmatic way out.

Do this: keep an eye on the housing market in your area, and consider for yourself how people are supposed to afford purchasing their first home these days.

5. “This is what disruption looks like.”

Disruption at Work: It’s More than just WFH – Steven Sinofsky – (a collected tweetstorm)

There’s a lot of talk about how the workplace is changing now with WFH (Work From Home) being a thing for many more people.

It is said the pandemic pulled forward a decade or more of “digital transformation”. Yes. But what it really is going to be is the equivalent of what WWII did to the corporation or the microprocessor to mainframe.

Drawing parallels to prior, major disruptions including the formation of the concept known as “the corporation”, he posits that we’re in the middle of one now. It’s not about how we’re going to do our existing things differently, it’s that we’ll be approaching work (and more) in completely different ways, ways that most of us can’t even envision right now.

This is a tweetstorm and reads like one, but it’s conveniently collected on a single page, and lightly edited.

Do this: be open to the change that disruption will inevitably bring.

6. “. . . our judgment isn’t limited by knowledge nearly as much as it’s limited by attitude.”

The Scout Mindset – Julia Galef – (ebook)

For someone who prides himself on logic and rational thinking, this is an important insight for me to keep in mind. We’ve all heard “attitude is everything”, and this is yet another context where this is true. One of the themes I’m kinda discovering I’m drawn to is the psychology of opinion. I’ve love to say that opinion is and should always be based on facts. And yet if the last 18 months (or 6 years, if you like) have shown us anything it seems like nothing could be further from the truth. Emotion, community, and attitude are significant components we need to acknowledge and understand.

And, yes, that’s hard for the logic/reason/fact-based among us.

Do this: examine the motivations behind your own judgment.

7. ” do something”

How to Get Motivated and Take Action – Mark Manson – (Medium)

I quickly learned that forcing myself to do something, even the most menial of tasks, quickly made the larger tasks seem much easier.

Honestly, this is pretty timely for me. I’ve been fighting the [lack of] motivation monster for some time. Even though I KNOW that the act of getting started — doing something — will get me started and carry me through, there are days when it’s Just. So. Hard.

Do this: If motivation’s an issue for you as well, give Manson’s article a skim. There’s more, and it’s pretty darned accurate.

What I’m Reading

In progress (also on GoodReads):


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