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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#50)

Book excerpt I loved:

As we make progress in our practice of Stoicism, we will become increasingly indifferent to other people’s opinions of us. We will not go through our life with the goal of gaining their approval or avoiding their disapproval, and because we are indifferent to their opinions, we will feel no sting when they insult us. Indeed, a Stoic sage, were one to exist, would probably take the insults of his fellow humans to be like the barking of a dog. When a dog barks, we might make a mental note that the dog in question appears to dislike us, but we would be utter fools to allow ourselves to become upset by this fact, to go through the rest of the day thinking, “Oh, dear! That dog doesn’t like me!” (William B. Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life)


A grave reminder. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.


The importance of winters: As winters shrink, our discontent grows is a thought-provoking essay on the impact of climate change and how we rely on seasons to give structure and meaning to our lives. Hadn’t quite thought about it in this way before.

Whenever winter hits and however mild or severe it might be, we must remain cognizant of the fact that winter offers a change of pace, a reduction of the world around us. It can be a period of withdrawal, of reflection and regeneration. If we allow ourselves to embrace it, it can bring us back to a time when people were forced to be more flexible and responsive to the seasons. Maybe we, too, can become more receptive to the small pleasures and wonders that we otherwise perceive only peripherally, if at all?


Thoughts on how to think about your career: The Obvious Way to Improve Your Career (That Might Not Be So Obvious) has some good perspective worth a quick read. I’m of the mind that your career is a painting and not a ladder, but the same thinking here applies.

Often the kinds of efforts that will move forward your business are hard. They are uncomfortable. They require doing things that you (currently) have no idea how to do.

Many people pass on these to pick hobby projects instead. Projects that are fun, seem related to their career, yet, ultimately deliver underwhelming results. Improving their social media marketing, rather than creating compelling content. Installing a new development environment, rather than becoming an expert in their language. Designing business cards instead of drumming up business.


Werner Herzog doesn’t really watch movies: Why He Didn’t Need to See ‘Star Wars’ Films for ‘The Mandalorian’ Role.

You shouldn’t feel upset that I haven’t seen the “Star Wars” films; I hardly see any films. I read. I see two, three, maybe four films per year.

This made me think, but his comments about watching and understanding what the rest of the population is watching (which it sounds like he’s been saying way before it was trending) also stuck with me.


Tiger stripes are like fingerprints: While creating a book about tigers with my daughter (her idea), we came across the following fact from Wikipedia:

As with all tigers, the white Bengal tiger’s stripes are like fingerprints, with no two tigers having the same pattern. The stripes of the tiger are a pigmentation of the skin; if an individual were to be shaved, its distinctive coat pattern would still be visible


Finally, see what we’re up to now.

Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#41)

Seasons change: Last week you could feel fall setting in here. The leaves are turning color. It feels like even the calendar is starting to settle in for winter. I was out for a scooter ride with Sam on my Friday off and I remembered how much I love the fall (sorry Scots, autumn). As of last week we’ve been in Scotland for two months and it felt like a new stage was beginning along with the season.

Practicing our double tailspin jumps.

Book excerpt I loved:

“The reality of your life is always now. And to realize this, we will see, is liberating. In fact, I think there is nothing more important to understand if you want to be happy in this world.” (Sam Harris, Waking Up)


Thought exercise that I learned from a co-worker: What will I tell my grandmother? Next time you are explaining something or writing about something, even if just as an exercise, try writing about this.

I always like to think about how I would break down my experience to my 93 year old grandma who does not understand the internet or how technology has evolved over the last decade since she stopped using the internet and email about 10 years ago. When she asks about my [next/new anything], what will I tell her?


Music I enjoyed: I went on a music thread one day last week starting with The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Jim Hendrix, then veered to Sex Pistols, and ended up at The Buzzcoks – Singles Going Steady. So good.


Misc things I’ve learned about Scotland:

  • Boxed mac and cheese is basically non-existent. It’s both good and bad.
  • It’s more rural than I realized. Most of what people would say are “suburbs” here would be considered rural to someone from Seattle.
  • There are no Mexican restaurants, and judging from the ready-to-cook food section, people love making food that I put in the Mexican-type genre like fajitas, tacos and the like. Go figure.
  • Police Called To Stop Massive Game Of Hide And Seek At IkeaIkea in Glasgow to be clear.

How Stupid Things Become Smart Together: I’ve been watching One Strange Rock and reading the recent Wait But Why stuff and in the middle watched this video (from A Game of Giants) and thought it was all pretty crazy to think about.


Scotland and WordPress: a peek into the variety of work and world I’ve been working with over the past month.