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The Trouble with Problem is the Positioning of ME

So the news that dominated this week was Gamestop (you know, that video game store?). But it wasn’t just about Gamestop's stock. It was about a whole lot more with people asking if a bunch of redditors broke the financial market, if this was the equivalent of the French Revolution in finance, and how “free” a free market really should be.  I’ve devoted entirely too much time in trying to understand it all, even more so forming an opinion - and although I’m still not 100% certain on both categories, I’ll just say this: I don’t think it matters in the long term. And maybe not even in the short term. If you want a high level explanation of what went/is going on, this is a good primer, and this is a deeper dive

Moving on. 

What I really want to talk about is a problem. Specifically the last two letters in reverse in that word. Me (and you). The trouble with talking about problems is the positioning of those two letters: M and E. 

Having a predetermined guess at the outcome, I ran this twitter poll below. 
(The relatively low votes makes me think two things. (1) I think I got pseudo shadow-banned by the almighty algorithm for suggesting such a thing that social media might be bad, and (2) I think people were afraid of the juxtaposing answers.) 

Fascinating though. Right? 65% of people believe social media is a net negative for society, but only 42% think it’s a net negative for themselves (which also received 16% less total votes after I boosted the first one). 

I think it’s similar to the study that showed 73% of American drivers believe they are better-than-average drivers, or why people tend to be optimistic about their own future while simultaneously deeply pessimistic about their nation or world’s future. 

It's easier to be objective to the outside - less so on the inside. 

It is really, really difficult to examine problems that we might be (1) subject to and/or (2) a part of. I think this is true in relationships, in politics, in society, and in money. It’s infinitely easier to see a problem than it is to see that we’re involved in it.

We think day-traders are idiots, but we’re the exception.

We think that anyone else might get a terminal disease, but we won’t. 

We think that social media is a net negative to everyone, but not to us.  


And maybe even more frequently, we deflect.  

“Materialistic? Pssshhh. I’m not materialistic. You see that guy’s new boat?”

“Angry? Psshhh. I’m not angry. You should have seen my dad’s anger.”

“Racist? Psshhh. I’m not racist. You see those people on TV?”

“Selfish? Psshhh. I’m not selfish. Let me tell you about my neighbor.”

“Prideful? Psshhh. I’m not prideful. I write a weekly letter infused with humility!”


The problems oftentimes aren’t all that difficult to diagnose. It’s that hidden “me” in there that can be tricky.

And yet that “me” is oftentimes the one we have the most control over. 

Interesting Resources

Quote
James Clear
"Instead of working toward retirement, work toward your ideal lifestyle. There is usually a path to get there in a few years instead of a few decades"

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
It's a book | John Mark Comer
So I've been quoting this one for few weeks, and I just finished the book. I plan on immediately rereading it, as I'm already creating a brainstorm of ways I can slow down my life. It's early, but this is the best book of the year for me - and yet I feel it'll remain up there for quite some time. As my friend Khe said, a good definition of success is "Not feeling busy." 

"Your life is the by-product of your lifestyle. By life I mean your experience of the human condition, and by lifestyle I mean the rhythms and routines that make up your day-to-day existence... All the best stuff is in the present, the now. All the great wisdom traditions of history, religious and secular, Eastern and Western, Christian and not, have come together on one point: if there's a formula for a happy life, it's quite simple - inhabit the moment."
To the pursuit of awareness - the me within the problem - and to the unhurried life, I wish you a fantastic weekend. Talk next week. 

Gratefully,
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