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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#97)

Learned last week: Not freaking out about the election, faking it to make it, the wonder of the cosmos, and more!

Don’t freak out about the election:

Love, friendship, family, raising children, building businesses, worship, charity work—that is the stuff of life! Politicians get in the way of those things. But despite the efforts of power-hungry Republicans and Democrats, life gets better.

You may not believe that. Surveys show most people think life is getting worse. But it isn’t


Article excerpt I was thinking about again:

“I’ve heard this wisdom from many different writers over the years, but as time passes, the truth of it becomes more and more clear: When someone tells you something is wrong, they’re almost always right. When someone tells you how to fix it, they’re almost always wrong. This applies to both writing and life.” (Ryan Holiday, 33 Things I Stole From People Smarter Than Me)

https://forge.medium.com/33-things-i-stole-from-people-smarter-than-me-on-the-way-to-33-c38e368e5cb8


Fake it and make it:

In the spirit of Halloween, shared some thoughts on tricking yourself out of being afraid.


Finished reading Atomic Habits and posted my notes:


A case for starting blogging:

Really great thoughts on a project that apply broadly to starting any new work, taking risks and conquering fear.

This obviously isn’t for everyone, but I think a lot of people would benefit from doing something like this. But there is a major sense of inertia at the idea of something taking up time and effort for uncertain reward, and anxiety at putting yourself out there. I felt all of these at the start, and so have a few friends I since talked into starting projects like these! So, empirically, these feelings are
at best weak evidence that it’s actually a bad idea. As a general rule – downside feels concrete, upside does not.

My intuition is that people have a systematic bias against doing this kind of thing – it’s not the default action. But fuck being the kind of person who only ever does the default action – taking opportunities and Actually Doing Things is habit forming, even if those opportunities aren’t perfect.

If you feel tempted by this but hesitant, and uncertain this is actually the best use of time, I’d note that this uncertainty seems important! Writing could add value, or it could not. And learning whether this is a good use of your time is valuable, and worth spending some time on now! I recommend making this into an experiment – commit to doing writing every day for the next week, and review at the end of that whether this has felt valuable. You aren’t doing this to write, you’re doing this to gain information! So there’s no way for this to fail!

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/7qo54rqapgLYNWCu7/my-case-for-starting-blogging


An atlas of the cosmos:

I’m on a space kick recently (just started reading A Brief History of Time) and this is a super-interesting and beautiful read.

One day, googols and googols of years after you and I have died, the universe will end. Just like us, it is currently in the process of its death. It is expanding outward at unfathomable speeds, so much so that eventually all matter in the universe will begin to separate, growing further and further apart. As a result of this expansion the universe and all the matter in it will cool off until everything is the same temperature. This is one of the most popular theories for the end of the universe called the Heat Death — literally the death of heat. Over time, stars will die, galaxies and their solar systems, globular clusters and everything we’ve ever known will get consumed by black holes — the last things to exist in this universe.

Meanwhile, you and I are going about our days on an average rocky planet in just one of trillions of solar systems. Our planet orbits around an average star that moves around the third arm of the Milky Way galaxy, local group Virgo supercluster in an ancient universe that is moving ever outward. Where are we? The answer is always changing.


Lastly, check out what we’re up to now.

Comments welcome!