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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.

Connectedness

The essential challenge is to transform the isolation and self-interest within our communities into connectedness and caring for the whole The key is to identify how this transformation occurs. We begin by shifting our attention from the problems of community to the possibilities of community.

~ Peter Block

~ Original Tagged Community, Peter Block, Quotes



Change is good

Total efficiency constrains us. We become super invested in maintaining the status quo because that is where we excel. Innovation is a threat. Change is terrifying. Being perfect at something is dangerous if it’s the only thing you can do.

~ Farnam Street from, https://fs.blog/2019/01/getting-ahead-inefficient/

Change is good. (Although, Don Draper’s comment stands, making a different point.) Today I’m making a big change to some of my personal routines. I want different results than I’m currently getting… or pessimistic-me would say, I want some results rather than the none I’m currently getting. I’m not going to dive into what exactly I’m changing.

Instead, I want to touch on the how I’m changing things. I imagined a blank slate— a day with nothing. Then, what’s something I’d like to do? Okay, let’s put that into my day, (or week, month, life, etc..) Then, what’s something I keep “falling into?” …some habit that I see repeating, which I want to avoid. Okay, put something in which blocks that habit. One might have some non-negotiable blocks. (I’ll point out that those are not truly non-negotiable. They’re just costly to change.) Okay, I’ll put those back into my day.

The hard part is not putting too much back in. It’s the same as with packing my bag for a trip. I set out what I want to take. Then I pack the bag. I assess the degree of over-stuffage. (Notice the verb “to lug” lies within “luggage.”) Next, I unpack the bag, and reduce things. Finally, I repack the bag.

So, when is the last time you dumped out your luggage?

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~ Original Tagged Farnam Street, Life Balance



Unprofitable

If you have not known how to make the best use of it, if it was unprofitable to you, what need you care to lose it, to what end would you desire longer to keep it?

~ Michel de Montaigne

~ Original Tagged Memento Mori, Michel de Montaigne, Quotes



This is the last time

There was, or will be, a last time for everything you do, from climbing a tree to changing a diaper, and living with a practiced awareness of that fact can make even the most routine day feel like it’s bursting with blessings. Of all the lasting takeaways from my periodic dives into Stoicism, this is the one that has enhanced my life the most.

~ David Cain from, https://www.raptitude.com/2021/09/the-last-time-always-happens-now/

This is by far the most important thing I’ve learned in my several decades. I’ve written about this previously, try my “perspective” tag for some tastes, but this item bears endless repeating. Do it as if it is the last time. Think of it, in the moment, as if it is the last time. And for a bonus multiplier—but don’t do this too often or you get disappointed too—think about that thing you’re about to do, the same way. Tomorrow, when I ____ , that will be the last time I get to _____ .

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~ Original Tagged David Cain, Perspective, Stoicism



Decisions and outcomes

Decisions are good even if the outcomes aren’t. The same is true for the process of generous creativity. The process is a smart one even if the particular work doesn’t resonate, even if the art doesn’t sell, even if you aren’t happy with the reaction from the critics. That’s because what we seek and how we create aren’t the same thing.

~ Seth Godin

~ Original Tagged Creativity, Quotes, Seth Godin



The doldrums

[T]he comfort zone. This is the bane of all athletes, the enemy of all entrepreneurs and creative[s], and the graveyard of dreams.

~ Dan Edwardes from, https://danedwardes.com/2021/09/24/risk-and-reward/

This is a ubiquitous problem. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “stuck in the doldrums“? It’s a literal place where there isn’t much wind, and thus the bane of old-timey sailors. But the metaphorical doldrums are just as real. You can avoid the literal doldrums. You can at best only try to avoid the metaphorical ones. Whether it’s literal or metaphor though, the way out is the same: Concerted, intentional effort to go somewhere else.

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~ Original Tagged Dan Edwardes, Geography, Sailing



A tragic history

But I wish some one would attempt a tragical history of literature, showing how the greatest writers and artists have been treated during their lives by the various nations which have produced them and whose proudest possessions they are. It would show us the endless fight which the good and genuine works of all periods and countries have had to carry on against the perverse and bad.

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

~ Original Tagged Arthur Schopenhauer, Literature, Quotes



If only

The day is actually quite spacious, if we don’t try to overfill it.

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

It took me far too long to learn this lesson. Or, perhaps I should practice improving my self-talk: I’m so glad I understand this now. For a couple months early in 2022 I had a sticky-note about “urgency?” on my monitor. That had a profound effect on me. Is the house on fire? …okay, then where is the urgency coming from? Hint, Craig: You brought the urgency to the situation.

But, why? Why does the urgency creep in for me? I make long (long loong) arguments out in my mind about how each of the things that I’m doing, represents an intentional choice. At one time, I used to allow other people to choose for me. (I know, right… That’s nuts.) But these days, I’m working out the lesson that just because I choose, that doesn’t mean it’s a good choice. One choice, two choices, three choices, four, five, six… and the day is over-full. Quick! All these things need to be done—I chose them. Hello, urgency.

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~ Original Tagged Intention, Leo Babauta, Life Balance



Belonging

The second meaning of the word belong has to do with being an owner: Something belongs to me. To belong to a community is to act as a creator and co-owner of that community. What I consider mine I will build and nurture. The work, then, is to seek in our communities a wider and deeper sense of emotional ownership and communal ownership. It means fostering among all of a community’s citizens a sense of ownership and accountability, both in their relationship and in what they actually control.

~ Peter Block

~ Original Tagged Community, Peter Block, Quotes



Rhyming

There comes a moment in doing your reading where new work begins to rhyme. When you start to see the connections. When you understand who influenced the person you’re engaging with right now.

~ Seth Godin from, https://seths.blog/2021/09/on-doing-the-reading/

I find it difficult to figure out when to shift from empty-cup, learn-everything mode into the mastery mode. Godin’s insight about “rhyming” strikes me as a great test. In the beginning of some new learning adventure, everything is new and everything is surprising. The idea of noticing when a lot of things start to rhyme… of noticing when you can tell who or what influenced this thing you’re currently studying… that is when you notice that you have shifted into the mastery level of practice. Mastery does not—not by a long shot!—mean you are done. It’s more like the point where the airplane pivots and leaps into the sky: Now I am ready to begin my own journey.

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~ Original Tagged Mastery, Reading, Seth Godin



Folly

What a ridiculous thing it is to trouble ourselves about taking the only step that is to deliver us from all trouble! As our birth brought us the birth of all things, so in our death is the death of all things included. And therefore to lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago.

~ Michel de Montaigne

~ Original Tagged Memento Mori, Michel de Montaigne, Quotes



Nope nope nope

The History of Philosophy is an interactive tool enabling users to dig into a visual timeline of 2,500 years of philosophical thought and discover lines of agreement and divergence.

~ Ahmed Kabil from, https://blog.longnow.org/02019/10/22/the-history-of-western-philosophy/

I glanced at this when it appeared in my RSS feed and I had two simultaneous thoughts: “Wow, I should really dig into—” And, “RUN AWAY!” Because, this is exactly the sort of maximally complicated data visualization that I would create.

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~ Original Tagged Ahmed Kabil, Data visualization, RSS



Time and strength [are] limited

One can never read too little of bad, or too much of good books: bad books are intellectual poison; they destroy the mind. In order to read what is good one must make it a condition never to read what is bad; for life is short, and both time and strength limited.

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

~ Original Tagged Arthur Schopenhauer, Books, Quotes



What we seem to have forgotten

Here is what we seem to have forgotten: America is not some finished work or failed project but an ongoing experiment. And it is an experiment that, by design, will never end. If parts of the machine are broken, then the responsibility of citizens is to fix the machine—not throw it away.

~ James Mattis from, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/12/james-mattis-the-enemy-within/600781/

I’ll just drop that there.

…and I’ll go on to add that it’s interesting how, through loops and curly-Q’s, I often find myself at the same place. There’s a copy of The American Idea: The Best of The Atlantic Monthly in my currently-reading stack.

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~ Original Tagged James Mattis, The Atlantic, The United States of America




 






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