Stop Trying to be Right — 7 Takeaways No. 61


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1. "Anger continued on past its usefulness becomes unjust, then dangerous."

Ursula K. Le Guin on Anger – Maria Popova – (The Marginalian, blog)

Anger frustrates me and makes me exceptionally uncomfortable. At its best it seems pointless, and at its worst — which is often — it’s extremely destructive.

However friends have pointed out that anger can be motivational. Anger can cause change. Indeed, there’s a strong argument that much societal change has its roots in anger.

But then, so does most societal destruction as well.

Perhaps the problem is this: when threatened, we pull out our weapon, anger. Then the threat passes or evaporates. But the weapon is still in our hand. And weapons are seductive, even addictive.

The essay from which my takeaway is sourced is a discussion based on a portion of Ursula K. Le Guin’s non-fiction book "No Time to Spare".

Do this: consider whether your anger serves a purpose; whether the threat it’s addressing has passed.

2. "Stop trying to be right"

Do You Make This Mistake In Conversations? – John P. Weiss – (Blog)

I know several people who have an almost pathological need to be right. Occasionally I’m one of them. The problem, of course, is that aggressively defending your position to make your point prevents you from understanding the opposing position you so vehemently consider to be wrong. It’s frustrating to be on either side of such a conversation — or even to witness it.

This is an essay I should read over and over again. It’s about more than wanting to be right, of course. It reviews several of the common problems with modern conversation, and offers tips to improve them, and the resulting relationships.

When we discipline ourselves to stop steering the conversation back to ourselves, something amazing happens.

Do this: Listen. Really listen.

3. "Check in more"

Don’t expect asymmetrical communication – Mike Crittenden – (Blog)

Almost a progression from the previous takeaway, this very short post (as Crittenden’s daily posts are) is an admonition to seek out communication, and I’d say contact, from the quiet, the uncomfortable, and those who just aren’t as comfortable with what he called "aysmmetrical" communication.

Do this: reach to someone you haven’t heard from in a while.

4. "Your identity emerges out of your habits."

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear – (ebook)

I’m in the process of reading this book (finding lots of takeaways), and stumbled into this. I find word derivations fascinating, but this one surprised me:

In fact, the word identity was originally derived from the Latin words essentitas, which means being, and identidem, which means repeatedly. Your identity is literally your "repeated beingness."

You are what you do. Even better:

Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.

Do this: Pay attention to your actions.

5. "When I think of them, I smile with sorrow."

Confession: I Secretly Love Donald Trump – Jared A. Brock – (Medium)

Brock describes the result of his visit to Westboro Baptist Church, followed by a visit to Third Haven Meeting House, the oldest Quaker meeting house in North America. When faced with the unabashed hatred at the former, the visit to the later changed his perspective dramatically.

Don’t get me wrong, we still need to work towards a world of justice and accountability and truth and jail time for mass murder.
But we also need to become a world of love.
And that will never happen until we learn to love our enemies.

As always, Brock is thought provoking. I’ve considered the perspective of loving your enemies, but I’ll admit I have a difficult time with some.

Do this: Try.

6. "the savior of the recording industry"

The economics of Spotify – Mark Dent – (The Hustle)

Spotify’s been in the news of late, but aside from the issue of content moderation at the heart of the current brouhaha, there’s been an interesting and renewed focus on the economics of music streaming.

I found this quote, from the founder of Spotify, to be most telling:

Spotify was created to solve the problem of piracy, not “to pay people money.”

This essay might be the best overview I’ve read about entire streaming model and all the players.

Do this: Support the artists you want to see survive.

7. "the best way to learn something is to do it."

How To Balance Learning And Doing – Josh Spector – (For the Interested)

I’ve long resembled this remark, though often felt I was somehow lacking. Particularly in school it’s rare that you learn something in order to do something, other than, perhaps, pass a test.

I now take this on intentionally. For example, I’ve purposely set aside tools I’m comfortable with for replacements that promise some additional advantage long term. The initial period is rough, as I learn by doing.

[Pure] Learning is a pursuit that comes with almost no risk – the time you put into it is essentially all upside with little risk.

Setting aside a tool you know for something you don’t can be particularly risky, particularly in the face of a deadline. It can also be very rewarding.

Do this: Never stop learning, however you do it, but err on the side of doing.

What I’m Reading

In progress:


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