Highlights from the Internet: Part 6
Below you'll find part 6 of my collection of highlights from the internet. I read and highlighted most of it in the Pocket app.
Cautiously watch for sprinkle goals infecting your goals list, and prune them when you notice them. It’s okay to feel the void of not having a goal to cover some aspect of life such as your relationship or your self-development.
New Goals Mandate New Behaviors
The hardest part is usually getting the right habits in place to support our goals. This includes answering questions like:
- What will I do to move this goal forward each week?
- Which days will I work on this?
- How will I work on this?
- How will I track my progress?
- How will I bring my focus back if I start getting distracted?
- Perhaps the most important question is actually this:
- How will I prevent myself from falling off track?
Facing Personal Weaknesses
When there was a significant advancement in a relatively short period of time though, the cause was usually social. I typically made the biggest gains when I invested in a more growth-oriented social circle. That also helped me get out of my head by seeing that my problems weren’t unique. Lots of people struggle with similar issues, and struggling together was easier – and often more fun and rewarding – than struggling alone.
What are some essentials to include on your list? Where do you lose sight of your best practices? Where do you tend to slip after a while? Where are you struggling to be more consistent? Daily reminders can help with all of these.
Daily reminders also create a sense of accountability. If you’re slacking off on some of your best practices, these reminders will alert that you’re falling short. It doesn’t feel good to be reminded of this, and the daily reminders keep that unpleasant realization right in your face. If you try to justify your sliding, your own purposeful reminders will hold you accountable and encourage you to raise your standards. You’ll have to face the music each time you review your list.
This practice is good for prevention too. It’s harder to slack off on a good habit when you keep reminding yourself of its benefits each day, such as by reminding yourself that exercise boosts your mood, clarity, mental endurance, depth of concentration, creativity, and immunity.
Your Most Daunting Open Loops
- Do you have an aligned morning routine that consistently gets you off to a strong start to each day? The lack of a good morning routine is an unresolved open loop. Same goes for a decent morning routine that’s inconsistently maintained.
- Have you figured out how to consistently eat and exercise so that you feel good, have abundant energy, and don’t fight with your health habits? If not, that’s an open loop.
- Do you have any chronic health conditions that are probably reversible? Do you know if they’re reversible or not? Have you done whatever it takes to fix them? This may require major lifestyle and habit changes. Is it possible though? If it’s possible to solve these problems and you haven’t solved them yet, that’s a significant open loop that could distract you. Imagine if you permanently solved these problems and could finally let them go for good. Alternatively, you could deeply welcome and accept them as-is. But if you still feel some resistance towards them, that’s an open loop.
All of these require great self-control and self-discipline.
Resisting the need for self-control is itself an open loop.
Another problem is that low self-control tends to create more open loops. If you don’t muster the resolve to close these open loops, they’ll eventually pile up, which can start to feel overwhelming. Then the temptation is to sink into constant self-distraction to avoid having to deal with them. A better solution is to recognize and admit the tremendous need to work on one’s self-control, and then train yourself to build that muscle.
Being Too Quiet
Sharing needs, desires, and feelings isn’t easy, especially if you were raised to keep quiet about them. It will feel edgy to lean towards opening up, and it will feel uncomfortable to trust that it’s okay to do this. You’ll catch yourself sharing masks repeatedly. And that’s okay. It’s a growth process. It takes time to peel the onion of silence, to find the true voice within, and to overcome expressive scarcity.
How to Overcome Financial Pressure
Find the financial workouts that appeal to you, and do them. Keep upping the challenge, so you don’t remain stuck in your comfort zone.
Most importantly, don’t train with the goal of making more money. Train with the goal of strengthening your character. Choose financial workouts that with this in mind, and you’ll make better choices. Otherwise you may try to find shortcuts to circumvent the training, equivalent to lifting heavier weights by using a forklift, which would defeat the purpose.
Making more money isn’t the real progression here. The progression is to transform yourself from a person who tries in vain to stay in your comfort zone into a person who embraces the growth benefits of uncomfortable challenges.
Taste for Makers
When you're forced to be simple, you're forced to face the real problem. When you can't deliver ornament, you have to deliver substance.
Good design is redesign. It's rare to get things right the first time. Experts expect to throw away some early work. They plan for plans to change.
Intolerance for ugliness is not in itself enough. You have to understand a field well before you develop a good nose for what needs fixing. You have to do your homework. But as you become expert in a field, you'll start to hear little voices saying, What a hack! There must be a better way. Don't ignore those voices. Cultivate them. The recipe for great work is: very exacting taste, plus the ability to gratify it.
The Hard Way is the Easy Way
Success boils down to a simple maxim: do the real thing and stop doing fake alternatives.
Always start by asking yourself: “How would I do this, if doing it well were all that mattered?”
Say you want to start a business. The best plan is to build a prototype immediately of your intended product. You start interviewing prospective clients, getting preorders or contact information. But you can’t do this perfectly—you can’t quit your job yet and you can’t get financing.
The resulting path, however imperfect, is still a hell of a lot better than randomly reading business books or printing business cards or whatever convenient activity would have replaced it.
Strengthening Your Future Self
How’s your relationship with your past self? Your future self? Do you send appreciation to your past self?
How’s your relationship with your future self? Do you care enough to make your future self stronger? Do you tune into the flow of appreciation from your future self? Do you commit that when you do something nice for your future self, you will remember to pause and send some genuine appreciation back through time?
How could you improve these relationships? What would it do for you to feel an empowering sense of connection to your other selves across time?
Open data is not a panacea
When important data goes public, the edge goes to the most sophisticated data engineer, not the general public. The Goldman Sachs’s of the world will always know how to make use of “freely available to everyone” data before the average guy.
Which brings me to my second point about open data. It’s general wisdom that we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. My feeling is that as we move towards open data we are doing plenty of the hoping part but not enough of the preparing part.
If there’s one thing I learned working in finance, it’s not to be naive about how information will be used. You’ve got to learn to think like an asshole to really see what to worry about. It’s a skill which I don’t regret having.
When I’m caffeine-free, I become more aware of just how boring and circular social media is. I see it as more distraction than stimulation, so I spend less time on it. I become more attuned to bigger creative projects and interesting challenges. I seek stimulation through goals and challenges that appeal to me. I get more excited about the path I’m on.
I like having a stimulating life, but I’d rather get it from stimulating goals and projects instead of taking drugs. I like the emotional honesty of that. If my life is under-stimulating, I want to be able to feel that, so I can take corrective action. I don’t want to drown those feelings under espresso shots. I want to feel and experience the true reality of life.
Imagine what more you could experience and enjoy with more discipline – the ability to get yourself to take rational actions that create desirable results again and again. That’s worth some challenging training, so you can access those long-term benefits.
Exploding Your Mindset Box
So many awesome results in life can be found on the other side of fear… the other side of worry… the other side of playing small.
Of all the time you spend dwelling on problems or trying to come up with ideas and solutions, what percentage would you say is focused mainly on your own personal concerns and improving your own life? What percentage is focused on making other people’s lives better (people beyond your own family)?
One thing that makes this easier is thinking about your past self. When you struggled with a problem or challenge in the past, how would you have wanted to be helped? What would have made a difference for you back then? What kind of approach or offer would you have appreciated? Just asking these questions will help you release most of the ineffective mindsets and approaches that people attempt to use in business and relationships.
Perhaps at some point when your self-absorbed universe is collapsing in on itself, and you’re feeling burnt out and exhausted dealing with the problems of scarcity, you’ll be ready to explore beyond this clingy attitude. You’ll realize there’s a whole other world out there, and it consists of real human beings that you could actually help in some small way. And you may find that assisting them with their problems and challenges is way more interesting and way more rewarding that dwelling so much on your own individual issues.