Yesterday I found myself in the car for an extended period of time, something very rare this year. After a few stops along the way, I decided to switch attention away from the new RTJ album (so good) and switched on a recent Tim Ferriss Show with Hugh Jackman. I’ve missed listening to podcasts now that my commute is gone (really the only thing I miss) and this one was, as usual, great.
I was thinking about the beginning where he talks about what he learned from Patrick Stewart:
And he said to me that when he was about 60, he realized that he was never going to read all the books that he wanted to read in his life. He did the calculation. He decided that no matter what time his call was—let’s say he’s picked up at five—whatever time he would have woken up, he wakes up 30 minutes earlier, gets a cup of tea, and goes back to bed, and he reads. He said, “I don’t read the paper because it makes me angry. I don’t read my emails because it usually makes me anxious, gets my mind going.”
I think all the time about how I’d like to read more but there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day.
“Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” (Steven Pressfield, The War of Art)
A commencement address delivered remotely:
I’m not so worried about the dangers of mental junk food. That’s because I’ve found that many of the true intellectuals I’ve met take pleasure in mental junk food too. Having a taste for trashy rom-coms hasn’t rotted their brain or made them incapable of writing great history or doing deep physics.
No, my worry is that, especially now that you’re out of college, you won’t put enough really excellent stuff into your brain
In college, you get assigned hard things. You’re taught to look at paintings and think about science in challenging ways. After college, most of us resolve to keep doing this kind of thing, but we’re busy and our brains are tired at the end of the day. Months and years go by. We get caught up in stuff, settle for consuming Twitter and, frankly, journalism. Our maximum taste shrinks. Have you ever noticed that 70 percent of the people you know are more boring at 30 than they were at 20?
This really made me think. Do you think you are more interesting now than you were 10 years ago?
”The best test of a person’s intelligence is their capacity for making a summary”
Book excerpt I was thinking about:
“Long-distance running suits my personality, though, and of all the habits I’ve acquired over my lifetime I’d have to say this one has been the most helpful, the most meaningful. Running without a break for more than two decades has also made me stronger, both physically and emotionally.” (Haruki Murakami and Philip Gabriel, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
How would you answer the question: what habit have you acquired during your lifetime that has been the most helpful, the most meaningful?
The system that actually worked:
A great peek behind the huge growth in internet usage during the pandemic.
The surge in traffic, on the internet as a whole and on AT&T’s part of the network, is extraordinary in a way that the phrase 20 percent increase doesn’t quite capture. AT&T’s network is carrying an extra 71 petabytes of data every day. How much is 71 petabytes? One comparison: Back at the end of 2014, AT&T’s total network traffic was 56 petabytes a day; in just a few weeks, AT&T has accommodated more new traffic every day than its total daily traffic six years ago. (During the pandemic, the AT&T network has been carrying about 426 petabytes a day—one petabyte is 1 million gigabytes.)
All kinds of digital communication usage is up as well:
On AT&T’s network, customers are spending 33 percent more time talking on their cellphones, and they’re sending 40 percent more text messages, compared with January and February. Twice during the pandemic customers set a record for text messages,—once in mid-March as it started to build, and again on Easter weekend, sending more than 23,000 in a single second, besting the old record of 15,000, set on New Year’s Eve.
Daylight is in abundance now in the far northern reaches of Scotland. It’s light out really early now, and although I love the mornings regardless, it’s more pleasant than usual to wake up early. As a result I’ve started another seasonal shift in my morning routine, and even more that than that, a bigger thematic shift in the expectations I set for what I do when during my days.
I’m now running first thing in the morning rather than later (mostly), and am trying to pay more attention to letting my energy guide my routine rather than my willpower.
There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
Subscriptions are only going to get more ubiquitous: That everything is seemingly behind a paywall is frustrating with news and science, it might not be a bad thing entirely in the long run:
Today, there seems to be a larger integration happening across-the-board, for everyone. All of us, in one form or another, will have no choice but to practice self-sponsorship. Imagining a future where Twitter and Instagram have private monthly subscription options for users with locked accounts doesn’t seem that far off. Maybe certain platforms offer package deals. For $10 a month on YouTube, you choose which five creators you want to subscribe to, of which they get a cut.
This new reality is less about everyone transforming into their own brand or even becoming an independent contractor at the whims of a mercurial gig economy—it will be the very basis for life, or at least livelihood. It’s the creation of a future in which we can never afford to stop working, or better yet, where work doesn’t actually feel like work. Most people will still have the kind of jobs they have now, but living them will provide the additional capital they need to get by, as each person’s life just becomes another upload into someone else’s feed. This shift will completely change how we define labor, and what it means to generations who come after us, remapping their relationship to the internet and its many resources.
Brought to life in the form of a poem by Neil Gaiman along with a pretty animated short.
Titled “The Mushroom Hunters,” lovingly addressed to Neil’s newborn son Ash…the poem went on to win the Rhysling Award for best long poem and has now been brought to new life in a soulful short film…
Read the full poem here:
Book excerpt I enjoyed:
“Instead of running from our emotions or being swept away by their initial gusts, we should learn to sit with them, become at peace with their unique flavors, and ultimately discover deep pools of inspiration. I have found that this is a natural process.” (Josh Waitzkin, The Art of Learning)
It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top:
Some inspiration from one of my favorite books.
What I was thankful for last week:
A note I found in the car that Vivian wrote for me the day earlier while we were sitting listening to music and waiting for Kav to get back from grocery shopping. It simply read “I love you”.
Reading The Naughtiest Unicorn lying in bed with Vivi after school, her with a hot chocolate and me with a cup of coffee. Can’t think of anything better to spend a late afternoon doing.
Got to go to Kav’s spinning class with her on Monday. Good to do something a) with just Kav and I, b) exercise other than running, and c) do it with a group which definitely brings out my competitive side.