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 for my podcasts, writing and more.

~ Craig Constantine


It is curious to note the old sea-margins of human thought. Each subsiding century reveals some new mystery; we build where monsters used to hide themselves.

~ Longfellow

~ Original Tagged Longfellow, Progress, Quotes

Weekly email redesign

I’d like to do a bit of meta-discussion to start this week’s email. (If you’re reading this on the web site, these posts are assembled into a weekly email. This post sits atop this week’s assemblage.)

I reworked the stuff at the top to ensure that each email has a little more “what the heck is this?” context. I’ve moved the “hey could’ya?” contribute stuff down to the very bottom, (and added a non-subscription, any amount you like option.) I’m imagining that keeps it from being in the way, but is still noticeable—if you scroll all the way to the bottom, you’re probably finding at least some value in the email.

I’d be happy to hear any thoughts you have about these changes: Is the please-support-my-work stuff too out-of-sight now? Does the stuff at the top make sense? After reading these emails, is there anything you’ve wanted to do—anything at all—that you didn’t know how to do?


~ Original Tagged Meta


He that is not open to conviction is not qualified for discussion.

~ Richard Whately

~ Original Tagged Quotes, Reason and Rationality, Richard Whately

Systematic abandonment

To that end, Drucker recommends that executives routinely take part in “systematic abandonment.” Every few months, an executive should do a reevaluation of all the organization’s practices, looking at everything the organization is doing and deciding anew if the organization should stop or continue it.

~ Brett McKay from,

Drucker was writing explicitly in the context of business executives. McKay does a nice job of showing how those principles which serve executives so well, work equally well in one’s personal life. I didn’t have this process—this guiding principle from Drucker’s work—identified clearly in my head. But I have it firmly implanted into how I instinctively do things.

I’ve had more than one person make the joke, “Craig, how many clones do you have?!” (I like to jokingly reply, “Yes, I have several clones, but none of us can get the others to do anything we don’t want to do ourselves.”) I accomplish a lot. While I have a number of clear advantages—such as where I was lucky enough to start in the game of life, luck in biology, and luck in opportunities I was shown—those aren’t the truly magic ingredient. The magic ingredient is what I don’t do. It doesn’t matter what specifically it is that I don’t do; Each of us has to make those decisions for oneself. What does matter is that I am willing to regularly and often spend a prodigious amount of time examining what I am doing, and how I am doing it. And then ruthlessly cutting away things that I should stop doing.


~ Original Tagged Brett McKay, Peter Drucker, Self-awareness, Self-improvement


As climbers, we are inventors of our own goals, and must decide on our own how to achieve them. There is nobody else there. Nobody to control. We do extreme, dangerous things, and nobody else can say what is right or wrong. There is no moral loathing. We have only our instincts about human behavior, and in the end we are our own judges.

~ Reinhold Messner

~ Original Tagged Meaning of life, Quotes, Reinhold Messner, Rock Climbing

Cost per use

Second, and maybe more practically, I now think about what I buy on a cost-per-use basis, which lets me account for the replacement cost and lifespan of a product when comparing between products.

~ Chris Bailey from,

Bailey presents some interesting way of thinking about purchases. One idea he presents is that you can think about anything as a subscription service— if you imagine it will be recurring. Toothpaste? …that makes sense; it’s silly to consider the cost of my “subscription” to toothpaste, (but it makes intuitive sense since we know we’re going to buy it over and over.) I’ve often heard about lifestyle creep, where the money we spend expands to meet our paycheck. And one way that happens is by habit development.

I get a pay raise—HA, yeah right… sorry. And I try this new Thai restaurant. It’s a little pricey, but I start going there occasionally, then more often, then… I’m suddenly the largest-by-purchasing-total customer of that business. doh. If instead, I had considered: This $30 meal is a subscription… wait wat. I don’t even get to the part where I try to wonder-out how often I want to eat there. I’m on the maybe-don’t-purchase-it brakes as soon as I combine “$30” and “subscription.”

Bailey also mentions the good old “cost per use” idea, which I use all the time. But just in case that’s new to you, you really need to click through.


~ Original Tagged Budgeting, Chris Bailey, Lifestyle, Money


To live long, it is necessary to live slowly.

~ Cicero

~ Original Tagged Cicero, Moderation, Quotes

File not found

All of our digital platforms and systems, from the social media networks we post on every day, to the storage services we rely on to back up our most important files, to the infrastructures that power our digital world economy, are vulnerable to irretrievable data loss. Over time, file formats, applications, and operating systems go obsolete. Legacy systems become impenetrable. The migration of data to new systems risks breaking the chain of information transmission.

~ Ahmed Kabil from,

Data loss is a tremendous issue. (I’m setting aside the other problem of data which stays around despite our desire for it to go away.) All forms of data storage “rot” in some fashion or another. (Because, entropy.) It’s not so much about our storing data, as it is about our continuously moving data forward to better—which isn’t always the newer or newest technology at hand—storage. Don’t think “data storage,” but rather think “data movage.”

I’ve absolutely mastered the art of wringing maximum utility for me out of all of the data I create. But in terms of post-mortem— well, it seems a lot harder for me to actually care about that, so I’ve ignored it. While I’ve not gotten behind the Permanent Legacy Foundation myself, it is interesting none the less. I sometimes wonder if my slipbox is worth wondering about preserving? …what about my journals? (They could be a treasure trove of research data on mental illness.) …what about the thousands of pages on this blog? …what about my collection of quotes? …physical (slides, prints) or digital photography?


~ Original Tagged Ahmed Kabil, Internet Tech, Permanent Legacy Foundation


I’ve always treated the world as my classroom, soaking up lessons and stories to fuel my path forward. I hope you do the same. The worst thing you can ever do is think that you know enough. Never stop learning. Ever.

~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

~ Original Tagged Arnold Schwarzenegger, Experience and learning, Quotes

Pessimist? Optimist?

This has been distilled to a motto: “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will”. I am a pessimist or optimist of the intellect according to facts on the ground, but I am ever an optimist of the will.

~ Jason Crawford from,

Frankly, I’ve never cared for the simple dichotomy of, “are you an optimist, or a pessimist?” There is simply too much complexity—in the world, in the mind—for that level of simplicity to be useful. I’m interested in models, and this article from Crawford spreads out some of the complexity nicely. (It also includes some interesting references.)


~ Original Tagged Jason Crawford, Modeling reality, Thought and Philosophy


I have found you an argument; But I am not obliged to find you an understanding.

~ Samuel Johnson

~ Original Tagged Arguments, Quotes, Samuel Johnson

Physical it’s not

This phenomenon—winning or losing something in your mind before you win or lose it in reality—is what tennis player and coach W. Timothy Gallwey first called “the Inner Game” in his book The Inner Game of Tennis. Gallwey wrote the book in the 1970s when people viewed sport as a purely physical matter. Athletes focused on their muscles, not their mindsets. Today, we know that psychology is in fact of the utmost importance.

~ Shane Parrish from,

Somewhere I saw a great interview with Gallwey. (Try TouYube?) Some of the insights from his work—for example, that psychology is critical to success in sports—now seem obvious. But 50 years ago, this was not only “not obvious” but was literally unheard of. (Insert my peewee-baseball story from the late 70s. *shudder*) There’s a lot more worth gleaning from Gallwey’s work. Positive thinking doesn’t work! Worse, it’s a hinderance as bad as negative thinking. *gasp* This insight is also 50-years old, but from my conversations with athletes, it doesn’t appear that it’s percolated as thoroughly.


~ Original Tagged Mindset, Self-improvement, Shane Parrish


Without failures I would not be here. I learned most of what I know today through them. Maybe it was my partner, or the equipment was not proper, or the training—especially the mental training, which is the most important thing—were not good enough. With success, you don’t always know why you succeed, but when you fail, it’s clear what you did wrong. Then you can make changes and learn.

~ Reinhold Messner

~ Original Tagged Failure, Quotes, Reinhold Messner, Rock Climbing

Ya don’t say!

Another factor to consider is that this was a study in “lean” adults, and it is possible that results would be different if the investigators included people who actually need to lose weight.

~ Peter Attia from,

Some times I read stuff that is really disappointing. (This is one such case, don’t bother clicking through.) Attia’s content is almost entirely really good… no idea what happened here.

My BMI is currently above 33. Say what you will about BMI—but, please don’t, I know what you’re considering telling me—but I am over-weight. I should drop 20 pounds. Then drop another 20 pounds… and guess what. I still wouldn’t be down to a BMI where they’d let me into the study Attia was writing about. What— why would you do a weight-loss study on people whose weight is, (according to BMI,) normal?? Face palm.

Here’s what I know about alternate day fasting: It really works if you are fat, (like me.) Presuming your body can metabolize fat—caution, the average western diet down-regulates that ability to near zero… But presuming your body can metabolize fat, a day of not eating is pleasant. I’m serious. And then the second morning, 40+ hours of not eating, I’m actually hungry. Meanwhile, my body just used up thousands of calories of fat. Then I simply go back to eating. Anyway. That’s my experience.


~ Original Tagged Intermittent Fasting, Peter Attia, Waist to Weight Ratio

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Since August of 2011, I have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars keeping my personal blog going. It has remained free and ad-free and alive thanks to patronage from readers like you. I have no staff, no interns, no assistant—it's just one maniac with a keyboard. If this labor of love makes your life more livable in any way, please consider aiding said maniac's sustenance. You can subscribe at $50/year, subscribe at $5/month, or make a one-time contribution of any amount you like.

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