We’re dressing up here for Halloween, regardless of whether we can actually go trick-or-treating. Even though we aren’t going to be able to be on display for the neighborhood this year, it’s funny to think about what the act of dressing up does: it gives you permission. All of the sudden you can act in a different way and it’s ok.
I previously mentioned that you should get a helmet. Using props, dressing up, pretending for a moment to be something else, all of these are good tools you can use to trick your brain into forgetting the fear of failure and ridicule just enough so that you can act.
“To me, complete rational logic tells me to be atheist about all of the Earth’s religions and utterly agnostic about the nature of our existence or the possible existence of a higher being. I don’t arrive there via any form of faith, just by logic.” (Tim Urban, Wait but Why Year One)
Quote I appreciated:
Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.
Fake it till you make it:
Our brains are trained to think and feel certain things that cause us to behave certain ways. Learned thoughts and feelings turn into learned behaviors.
Once we’ve learned these things, it’s difficult to unlearn them. We get comfortable in our routines and patterns. It’s hard for us to imagine a different reality or a new way of thinking. The thoughts we’ve practiced for so long solidify in our minds, practically becoming truths.
When you “fake it till you make it,” you’re showing your brain an alternative scenario—one that involves you thinking, feeling, and/or acting differently. You’re essentially giving yourself new evidence, proving to your brain that there might be a different way to look at things.
The more you practice thinking in new ways, the more you’ll start to “unlearn” the harmful thoughts that have been holding you back so that you can move forward with thoughts that truly serve you. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen over time.
Reminds me of something Derek Sivers said on a TF podcast about how he was never a confident person until he started just trying to pretend he was confident and all of the sudden he realized he could be that way if wanted to.
I’m not sure how this became a longer thing than it is. Maybe that’s because prioritization, the subject of this piece, is a longer, harder thing to do than it seems at a distance. Anyway, this illustration started as a little morning drawing of an idea that I revisited from a book excerpt and grew into the series of illustrations below. It’s been a fun exercise in playing with a brush pen, seeing how I could talk about an idea thorough pictures, and put together disparate pieces of each into some sort of whole (using GIMP for image editing). Here are the different illustration “parts” explained with the compined composite I created at the end.
Visited another new place in Scotland and spent much of the week there:
Islay and Jura are two isles (islands) off the west coast of Scotland known for being remote, sparsely populated, wild, beautiful and full of some of the best whisky in the world. My Dad and I ventured out to find all of this to be very true indeed.
Favorite new music: The latest from Makaya McCraven, We’re New Again: A Reimagining has been a great companion to lunches and sketching.
The Chicago drummer and producer transforms Gil-Scott Heron’s final album into a masterpiece of dirty blues, spiritual jazz, and deep yearning.
Giving thanks travels well: Celebrating Thanksgiving outside of the US is a bit different. Thanksgiving travels well, even if your neighbours don’t have the Thursday off to drink and eat all day. It’s a holiday about gratitude, which everyone can get behind. I was fortunate to spend it with great people this year. I’m also grateful for all the sources of inspiration this year, such as Austin Kleon, Cal Newport, Haruki Murukami, John McPhee, Tyler Cowen, Shane Parrish, Seth Godin, Sam Harris, Ben Franklin, Jason Fried, Steve Martin, Tim Ferriss, and Paulo Cohelo…to name a few.
Book excerpt I was thinking about last week:
“What veteran artists share in common is that they have learned how to get on with their work. Simply put, artists learn how to proceed, or they don’t. The individual recipe any artist finds for proceeding belongs to that artist alone — it’s non-transferable and of little use to others.” (David Bayles, Ted Orland, Art & Fear)
I love the first part. And, while I think there is an important point in the second part (you need to figure out things for yourself), I find the individual recipes of others an endless source of inspiration and of much use.
Another book excerpt that made me think about my current work and what I spend the most amount of my time doing (albeit as a novice at the moment):
“An untrained observer will see only physical labor and often get the idea that physical labor is mainly what the mechanic does. Actually the physical labor is the smallest and easiest part of what the mechanic does. By far the greatest part of his work is careful observation and precise thinking.” (Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
I think a lot of us are like a mechanic in how we work, or at least it would be helpful to think of ourselves in that way.
What it’s like when a distributed company gets together: I missed “the grand meetup” this year but a recent Distibuted podcast covered this years’ get together in detail. I’m looking forward to it next year!
It can be especially difficult to foster a company culture when workers aren’t co-located. It can’t be forced into existence in an employee handbook. The people who make up the company have to live it and embrace it.
The GM addresses this challenge in several ways, including a number of traditions that have developed over the years. For example, the all-company photo — this year, it included so many people that resident photographer (and Automattic’s first employee!) Donncha Ó Caoimh had to take it from a roof overlooking the crowd. Each event ends with a big party, where an all-Automattician band provides the soundtrack. Matt Mullenweg holds an hours-long Town Hall where anyone from across the company can ask the CEO a question directly. These highlights help to cultivate a sense of togetherness and shared values.
Don’t believe everything you read: I learned that previously boiled water isn’t really any different than fresh water, at least as far as my coffee is concerned.
I should make more time for poetry: Away messages made me think this.
Whenever an old poet — an old poet — dies, I can’t get too upset.
This is what they’ve been training for! I think. It’s go time!
Quote that I was thinking about:
People are most vociferously opposed to those forces they have to resist most fiercely in themselves.
Today, Texas Instruments still sells a dozen or so different calculator models intended for different kinds of students, ranging from the TI-73 and TI-73 Explorer for middle school classes to the TI-Nspire CX and TI-Nspire CX CAS ($149), an almost smartphone-like calculator with more processing power. But the most popular calculators, teachers tell me, include the TI-83 Plus ($94), launched in 1999; the TI-84 Plus ($118), launched in 2004; the very similar TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, also launched in 2004; and the TI-89 Titanium ($128).
“As a former teacher, I was appalled at the pricing, not only for educators but for the families who were forced to pay inflated prices for the damn things,” she told me. “The margin is incredible. I can’t verify the exact numbers, but the margin was like 85% 90%.” In comparison, PC manufacturers like HP, Lenovo, Dell, Asus, and Acer have profit margins below 3%. (Texas Instruments did not return a request for comment for this story.)