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My hope is that you use these emails to practice reflection. Since 2011, I've spent countless hours reading, reflecting, and writing for my blog to craft these emails. They have remained (and will remain!) free and ad-free, with no hooks, nor guest posts. If what I create improves your life in any way, please support my efforts with a donation of $5/month or $50/year …that's less than $1 for each of these emails.

Below each section, the word "~ Original" is linked if you want to share a specific section. A link to this email as a web page can be found on the previous issues page.

Objections

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.

~ Samuel Johnson

~ Original Tagged Leadership, Quotes, Samuel Johnson



Language

It’s incredible—meaning not credible, not something one would think one should take as true—that we can push air through a tube, finely modulate tension of some fibrous bands attached to flaps, manipulate the shape of a bunch of things it seems were designed for eating . . . and presto! some idea appears in your mind, generally, in the way I intended. It’s incredible but so blasé, right?

And it’s not even incredible, at this point, that the whole “process” has different “languages,” with dialects, jargon and local slang. No. That’s all yawns-ville.

It’s not even interesting that I can smashcrastically make up “words” and it still works. The right idea still appears in your head. And a word can have multiple meanings. Does it have the same several meanings in another language? Meh, interesting, but not brain melting.

What explodes my noodle every time is the thought of homonyms. Words in one language that sound the same that have different meanings. To. Too. Two. Homonyms! …why aren’t those words also homonyms in another language? (‘au’ or is it ‘a’? …and ‘deux’?) Are there in fact any homonyms in one language that are also homonyms in another language? If so, or if not, does that tell us anything about language itself? …or about the origins of language? …or about the common ancestry of those particular languages, or about those particular words? …or . . .

yeah no sorry wat? Mrs. Peters just always thought I wasn’t paying attention in French class.

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~ Original Tagged Language, Thought and Philosophy



Stand up straight

How to act: Never under compulsion, out of selfishness, without forethought, with misgivings. Don’t gussy up your thoughts. No surplus words or unnecessary actions. Let the spirit in you represent a man, an adult, a citizen, a Roman, a ruler. Taking up his post like a soldier and patiently awaiting his recall from life. Needing no oath or witness. Cheerfulness. Without requiring other people’s help. Or serenity supplied by others. To standup straight—not straightened.

~ Marcus Aurelius, med 3.5

~ Original Tagged Marcus Aurelius, Quotes, Self-improvement



Water pump

Have you ever worked a hand-operated water pump? I mean the outdoor, permanently installed ones for pulling up drinking water. There’s a lot of varability to them, but generally there’s a bit of pumping before there’s any fruit to the labor. In my mind, there’s also a particular sound that goes with the initial machinations.

Sometimes, when I want to create a blog post from nothing, I hear that sound. You start on that pump. Then you’d hear the sound change, you’d feel the water make the action of the pump more leaden as the amount of effort changed.

But still, no water yet. You’d lean into it a bit more. Some sounds of water now. A gurgling rising in pitch which you instinctively know means the space for air is dwindling rapidly. And at a hard to predict moment . . .

You get a blog post about water pumps when you were expecting drinking water.

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~ Original Tagged Meta, Nostalgia



Stretch yourself

There is a place, right on the edge of your ability, where you learn best and fastest. It’s called the sweet spot.…The underlying pattern is the same: Seek out ways to stretch yourself. Play on the edges of your competence. As Albert Einstein said, “One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.”

The key word is ‘barely.’

~ Daniel Coyle

~ Original Tagged Albert Einstein, Daniel Coyle, Mastery, Quotes



Gateway to possibility

Why is play so powerful? Johnson explains that “humans — and other organisms — evolved neural mechanisms that promote learning when they have experiences that confound their expectations. When the world surprises us with something, our brains are wired to pay attention.”

And the whole point of play is to be surprised. The unknown factor is part of what entertains us. Play is a gateway to possibility.

~ Farnam Street from, https://fs.blog/2017/08/value-play-driver-innovation/

Have you seen the movie, Inception? There are a pile of mind-bending perspective shifts in there… something like a dolly-zoom, a long music descent, a rotating set that obliterates our sense of reality as the actors fall to the ceiling, that look on their face, M C Escher learns to use modern CGI for a city street scene . . . you get the idea.

surprise
unknown factor
gateway to possibility…

My understanding of what play is, and why we’re drawn to it, has fundamentally shifted.

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~ Original Tagged Farnam Street, Movers Mindset, Play



Creative processes

Engaged in the creative process we feel more alive than ever, because we are making something and not merely consuming, masters of the small reality we create. In doing this work, we are in fact creating ourselves.

~ Robert Greene from, https://fs.blog/2021/04/deliberate-practice-guide/

~ Original Tagged Mastery, Quotes, Robert Greene



Thinking

You need to avoid certain things in your train of thought: everything random, everything irrelevant. And certainly everything self-important or malicious. You need to get used to winnowing your thoughts, so that if someone says, “What are you thinking about?” you can respond at once (and truthfully) that you are thinking this or thinking that. And it would be obvious at once from your answer that your thoughts were straightforward and considerate ones.

~ Marcus Aurelius

~ Original Tagged Marcus Aurelius, Quotes, Thought and Philosophy



refine refine refine

There are lots of places—but two in particular are top of mind—where I’m storytelling these days. There’s this very difficult form of storytelling where you have to craft an experience of discovery for someone. You have a project, and it’s on the Internet. Someone comes to some part of it. From somewhere. Maybe someone told them something about some part of it; What they were told may be correct, incorrect, useful, or distractionary. (Is that even a word?) And every single one of those variable things would be different for each person.

And I have my ideas, my wants, (what I may want this new person to do,) and my way of seeing and understanding the world and this thing this other person is experiencing. I can use language, colors, design (esthetics, affordances, familiarity, etc.,) audio, video, gamification, revealed complexity, feedback, and more.

I create something, and release it into the world. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, it is the best thing I can possibly create. Later, I look at it—perhaps after seeing someone encounter it for their first time and their having a flawed experience, perhaps after asking someone to review the thing, whatever… Later, I look at it and omgbecky I suddenly see several serious, glaring flaws. Not spelling error type “flaws” — no, this whole story is told backwards, or this isn’t the right thing to tell at this point in their journey type flaws.

I used to get petulant when that happened. I’d worked so hard on it, and now it’s clear that my best wasn’t very good after all.

But today, my reaction is the opposite. I get really execited! “Wait— slow down— I’m scribbling notes as fast as I can,” excited. I used to think, “where were you when I worked so hard on this,” and now I’m thinking, “being able to see that this thing actually sucks, is awesome because now I can make it better.”

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~ Original Tagged Community, Self-awareness



Sleep

Sleep. Diet, exercise, and work ethic don’t hold a candle to how sleep can revolutionize the way you live, love, parent, and lead.

~ Brené Brown

~ Original Tagged Brené Brown, Quotes, Sleep



Random please

I’m a process process process person. The second time I have to do something, I’m trying to figure out how to either never have to do that again, or how to automate it. (And failing those two, it goes into my admin day.) But being process oriented also means I like to build tools to enable doing things that weren’t previously possible.

Recently, I installed a little bit of code on my site that will bounce one to a random post. This means I can now have a link, which takes me to a random quote. I collect all the quotes because I want to read them. A big portion of the enjoyment comes from their discovery. So any time I can mange to re-discover a quote, by stumbling over it some how, that’s a bonus. So now, each morning, I bounce myself to a re-discovery…

https://constantine.name/?redirect_to=random&tag=quotes

Which is great to bookmark— Except, if you click that, you land on a quote; and making a bookmark is then of that specific quote. Instead you have to manually create a new bookmark—so that’s your homework for today, go figure out how to do that in your fave web browser. In that new bookmark, you can copy-and-paste that URL as the address for the bookmark. Then, any time you go to that bookmark, my web site will bounce you to a random quote.

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~ Original Tagged Little Box of Qutoes, Meta



Unreasonable

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

~ George Bernard Shaw

~ Original Tagged George Bernard Shaw, Leadership, Quotes



Paralysis

I’ve been up for more than two hours today. I’m completely paralyzed by too many things to do. At this point—this point right here where I’ve opened the text box to write a blog post—I’m simply flailing. Simply grasping at any action.

Where’s the actual problem though? The paralysis isn’t from external pressures; it isn’t that I cannot figure out how to get things done in time, or on budget, to meet other’s expectations. All the expectations come from myself. This is a theme which has come up previously here multiple times.

Luke 4:23 springs to mind. What would I suggest if someone came to me with these exact symptoms, and asked me for help? I’d suggest visualizing what would success look like.

“It would be not this feeling!”

Yes, okay. Can you describe the current feeling?

“It’s a frenetic, cacophony of ideas and options, making me feel like progress—progress is clearly possible upon each idea and option, but progress upon any idea or option feels pointless.”

I notice you said, ‘feels pointless’, … why use ‘feels’ rather than ‘is’?

“Because I know that I could easily finish, at an awesome level of execution, any one of these things. So just picking one of them, arbitrarily, for discussion, progress on that one would move it towards completion.”

Are you saying that working on any of one of them— when you focus on that line of action alone— that actually feels like a good idea?

“Well, yes.”

If considering one feels okay, but considering all of them makes working on them feel not okay…

“But how do I choose? How do I be sure that I can finish all of them— all of these projects?”

You are aware that you cannot be certain to finish anything. This last thing you’ve said is a fact of life, because of the dichotomy of control. If you’ve only chosen to work on virtuous things— let’s take that as a given— then all these things you’re struggling to pick among… they’re all nothing more than preferred indifferents. Pick one, since they are all equally awesome. Chop wood. Carry water.

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~ Original Tagged Life Balance, Perspective, Stoicism



Improvise

The simple willingness to improvise is more vital, in the long run, than research.

~ Rolf Potts

~ Original Tagged Motivation, Quotes, Rolf Potts



Clarity

Problem identification is always a sound investment of time, money, and energy. It feels uncomfortable to spend time and resources trying to figure out exactly what the problem is—we want to jump to fixing way too fast. Most of use are plagued with action bias and really struggle to stay in problem identification. I’ve found that getting clear about what’s wrong and why it’s a problem is the best investment you can make at home or work.

~ Brené Brown

~ Original Tagged Brené Brown, Focus, Quotes



Accountability

Starting on January 3rd, 2022, I’m hosting an accountability session.

https://forum.moversmindset.com/pub/accountability

It’s free. There are no tricks, no gimmicks, and there’s no “upsell” at the end. It’s simply an opportunity to synchronize with others who want to make progress toward some goal of their own choosing.

This session is for kind and generous people who want to get something, (something of their own choosing,) done. But, who feel they need some others to kindly and gently hold them accountable to doing the work. In the session, you’ll be part of a group of people working together.

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~ Original Tagged Motivation, Self-improvement




 






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