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My hope is that you use these emails to practice reflection.

My vision is a world where everyone can flourish. My mission is creating better conversations to spread understanding and compassion. Drop by https://constantine.name for my podcasts, writing and more.

~ Craig Constantine

Play more

Play more. I feel like people are so serious, and it doesn’t take much for people to drop back into the wisdom of a childlike playfulness. If I had to prescribe two things to improve health and happiness in the world, it’d be movement and play. Because you can’t really play without moving, so they’re intertwined.

~ Jason Nemer

 
 — original post, tagged Jason Nemer, Movers Mindset, Play, Quotes



Tribeca

Tribeca

This photo is both the calm after, and the calm before, the storm. I was recently in New York City for a long weekend. (Contrary to what you may have heard, it was not the End Times as far as I saw. Things were more expensive, yes. But otherwise it was the NYC I recall from my last visit.) This photo is from late at night, shortly after some thunderstorms had passed over. And it was the night before I did a bunch of volunteering to help with an event on a rooftop on the lower east side.

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 — original post, tagged New York NY, World Trade Center



Everything has two handles

Everything has two handles, by one of which it may be carried, and by the other not. If your brother wrongs you, do not take it by this handle, that he is wronging you (for this is the handle that it cannot be carried by), but by the other, that he is your brother, that he was brought up with you, and then you will be taking it by the handle by which it ought to be carried.

~ Epictetus from Handbook, #43

 
 — original post, tagged Epictetus, Perspective, Quotes, Reason and Rationality



People make the difference

The world economy doesn’t behave the way most people would expect. Standard modeling approaches miss the point that economies require adequate supplies of energy products of the right kinds, provided at the right times of day and year, if they are to keep from collapsing.

~ Gail Tverberg from, https://ourfiniteworld.com/2021/12/03/is-it-possible-that-the-world-is-approaching-end-times/

Since we finished remodeling our home, this is the time of year when I pay a local company to dump two cords of split firewood in my lawn, (a pile about the size of a small car.) On my patio this morning, as the sun climbs above the old, worn-down mountain behind our neighborhood, the world smells like fresh, black coffee and green firewood.

I remain very optimistic about our world, and our economy—local, national and global. Because: People. Heating primarily with wood only works well for us for a few reasons: The housing density is low enough that multiple wood stoves is sane in a neighborhood. But the housing density is also just high enough that the stores are very close by. These trees grew relatively close, were sawn and split by a local company, and traveled not too far to get to my yard. Troy—the firewood guy—and I will both work very hard though, in the entire process of my heating with wood. Meanwhile, street gas (which isn’t even available on my block), propane (which I use to cook with), and electricity (which is my secondary heat source via heat pump and baseboards) are rising steeply in price.

Lumber prices are also crazy-high. (What was once a $2 2×4 is now nearly $10.) And Troy has resumed sawing lumber, something his father used to do with their equipment decades ago. And he’s taken on another person part-time. Yes, he asked me for more money to cover the fuel-cost of delivery, but the firewood is still less than the other fuel (gas, electric) options available to me for next heating season. My point here is that if everyone keeps making manageable decisions sooner rather than later, things will work out. The difficulty that I see for most people is being honest about what things they have to eliminate, in order to be able to keep their personal universes going.

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 — original post



Poiesis

Aristotle talked about three kinds of work, whereas in our modern world we tend to emphasize only two. The first is theoretical work, for which the end goal is truth. The second is practical work, where the objective is action. But there is a third: It is poietical work. The philosopher Martin Heidegger described poiesis as a “bringing-forth.” This third type of work is the Essentialist way of approaching execution: An Essentialist produces more—brings forth more—by removing more instead of doing more.

~ Greg McKeown from Essentialism p188

 
 — original post, tagged Essentialism, Greg McKeown, Martin Heidegger, Poiesis, Quotes



Or soon every day will have gone by

… and soon the day has gone by and we wonder what we did with the day.

~ Leo Babauta from, https://zenhabits.net/interstitial/

I marked this for “read later” back in December 2021, and am just getting around to reading it. I know that many—most? all?—of the amazing coincidences I find in my life arise from my innate, monkey-brain drive to see patterns and causation where none actually exists. I don’t care. It’s a nice coincidence that I’ve just gotten around to reading this, while in the past couple of weeks I’ve been simplifying and focusing on a small number of things that I want to be working on.

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 — original post, tagged Getting Things Done, Leo Babauta, Mindfulness



Personal summit

Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don’t make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.

~ Hugh MacLeod

 
 — original post, tagged Hugh MacLeod, Motivation, Quotes



73 years in 5,000 words

If you fell asleep in 1945 and woke up in 2018 you would not recognize the world around you. The amount of growth that took place during that period is virtually unprecedented. […] And if you tried to think of a reasonable narrative of how it all happened, my guess is you’d be totally wrong. Because it isn’t intuitive, and it wasn’t foreseeable 73 years ago.

~ Morgan Housel from, http://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/how-this-all-happened/

The story this tells is one I’d never seen woven together this clearly. Over many years I’d heard each of the pieces which are included, and this lays out a coherent story that looks like a Chutes and Ladders playing board. (To my astonishment, I just learned that the beloved children’s board game I’ve mentioned is a dumbed-down version of a very old game called Snakes and Ladders.) If history is any teacher—and it is, because history rhymes—I will certainly be unable to imagine the actual story of the coming years writ large. That’s not a bad thing! Be sure you at least scroll to the bottom of that article as the author is optimistic. As am I.

In a completely different vein, as I was adding tags to this post I made an interesting discovery. I always create a tag for the person who wrote whatever-it-is that I’m referencing. I was surprised to find out that I already have a tag for Housel despite my not recognizing the name. Click the tag below, as it turns out there’s another gem from 2018.

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 — original post, tagged Morgan Housel, Society, The United States of America



Subtract things

To attain knowledge add things every day. To attain wisdom subtract things every day.

~ Lao Tzu

 
 — original post, tagged Lao Tzu, Quotes, Wisdom



Eleven ways to really screw yourself up

Most things in life aren’t black and white. Overly dualistic thinking isn’t true to reality. Life is full of nuance. A goal can be worth pursuing even if it doesn’t garner the highest success; there are worthwhile things in both flawed people and flawed philosophies.

~ Brett McKay from, https://www.artofmanliness.com/character/the-11-cognitive-distortions-that-are-making-you-a-miserable-sob/

I’m not even sure how to classify this article for you. It’s short enough that you can just go glance at it. You’ll either shrug it off as simplistic (or possibly even offensive), or you’ll find the list of common cognitive mistakes useful. My pull-quote is indicative of the mistake of “splitting” thinking explained, not of the article overall. This mistake was—is still?—my biggest problem.

On the topics of depression and cognitive mistakes, from personal experience I recommend as useful Stoicism in general, and the more modern, (than the one McKay is referencing in the article above,) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple. To be fair, David Burns, the author of the book McKay is summarizing, was instrumental in bringing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy into the mainstream.

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 — original post, tagged Books, Brett McKay, Cognitive behavioral therapy, David Burns, Stoicism



Being mean

Never be mean to somebody who can hurt you by doing nothing. The reality is, that’s probably true of everybody you interact with; you’re interacting with them because you want them to do something.

~ Chris Voss

 
 — original post, tagged Chris Voss, Kindness, Quotes



Doing discourse better

Do conversations have known best practices? How much do they improve the odds of landing on the truth?

~ “Dynomight” from, https://dynomight.net/2020/09/29/doing-discourse-better-stuff-i-wish-i-knew/

I hate this terrific article. It’s completely stuffed with great ideas and great questions… and exactly zero answers. It starts talking about the particular type of conversation where two people acting benevolently are trying to find the truth about something under discussion. (Here I snicker at all of humanity, and myself, because we’ve been having conversations for like a gazillion years and we don’t yet know how to do it well.) It then narrows down to discussing just online conversations. Said narrowing feels like a great idea because there are a lot of online conversations and it feels like something we should be able to be good at. (Again here, snickering is warranted.) Anyway, at least some people are trying. Maybe, just maybe this is the epoch we get it sorted out?

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 — original post, tagged Dynomight, Reason and Rationality, Thoughts on conversation



Attachment

Worrying is impossible without attachment. No one worries about the weather on Saturn, because no one is counting on the weather to be a certain way. The time we spend worrying is actually time we’re spending trying to control something that is out of our control. Time invested in something that is within our control is called work. That’s where our most productive focus lies.

~ Seth Godin

 
 — original post, tagged Focus, Quotes, Seth Godin, Worrying



Surface area of concern

Our “surface area of concern”—the number of events we pay attention to on a regular basis—has expanded alongside technology. This is not an inherently negative thing, but becomes one when it adds chronic stress, leads us to burnout, and affects our mental health.

~ Chris Bailey from, https://alifeofproductivity.com/your-surface-area-of-concern/

This is a precise and powerful way to describe something which lies at the root of many other phrases: Information overload, multi-tasking (as a way to fail), and spreading our attention too thin (as another way to fail), are just three examples. I’ve long since decided that I do not need to have an opinion on most things, and that frees me from feeling I need to notice as many things as possible.

For many years—but explicitly I have 3 years of journal entries where this is glaring—I’ve lamented wanting to spend more time on some specific things. And yet my days slip past doing other things. I’m not talking about things which get planned—a day at the beach, dinner at someone’s house, or weekend work in the yard. No, I’m talking about that, “where the hell did today go?” stuff. If you like visuals: The glass jar that I filled slowly all day with the sand of small things, only to realize at day’s end that there’s no way to put these larger rocks in. Ever. Because every tomorrow is like today. Dammit.

About a week ago I decided—memento mori, ya’ know—it’s time to flip that shit over. For several years now, I’ve been starting with pretty consistent morning routine. After that, I have four things that I want to do, and I’ve been doing those next. Sometimes that means I don’t touch anything else—not my phone, not my email, not other people, not bills, not even voicemail from roofers—until 4 in the afternoon. It sounds crazy, I know. Guess what? Every day I look at those four things and go: Shazam! Progress! …and it turns out that I then go on to pour in a ton of sand too—return that call [from yesterday], mow the lawn, run an errand, interact with people, etc..

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 — original post, tagged Chris Bailey, Focus, Mindfulness




 
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just the quotes?
My collection of ~1,000 quotes, (and growing,) figures prominently in these weekly emails. You can also get a daily, random quote by email from my Little Box of Quotes.






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