Published by Comments Off on The Present-Day Time Machine
Most of us can think of times in our lives that we'd like to relive.
When these moments occur in the first place—the original events that become memories—we don't always realize realize how significant they'll become in our internal story.
That's only natural, because sometimes ordinary moments can take on much more meaning after the fact.
Published by Comments Off on Regret Is an Unreliable Emotion
I have long believed that thinking about regret is a powerful motivator for action. When you're feeling indecisive, trying to figure out if a particular step is a good one, consider how you'll feel if you don't take the step. Often this leads you to what seems like the right direction.
But while mental models can be helpful, most of them also have limits. Lately I've realized there's a flaw in the logic of focusing your attention on the avoidance of regrets. Simply put, regret is an unreliable emotion.
Think about that for a moment—what does it mean?
It means, in short, that regret is both difficult to anticipate and even harder to characterize in retrospect. If you feel certain about your choices in either direction—either looking back or looking forward—you may be basing your interpretations on selectively chosen information.
Published by Comments Off on The Greatest Story Ever Sold 💵
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how money mistakes are temporary. My main argument was that unlike other kinds of mistakes, money mistakes rarely have permanent consequences.
I'll return to that in this post, but first let's consider a few things that have happened this month:
We've all been hearing about NFTs, also known as "non-fungible tokens," also known as digital art that can be reproduced over and over but sells for a ton of money. The NBA has sold $230 million on these intangible "items." An artist sold one for $69 million the other day, and I'm sure that record will be broken soon.
The price of a single Bitcoin, another modern invention, has risen to more than $60,000. Like NFTs, Bitcoin is also completely digital. There is no such thing as "a Bitcoin" you can carry in your pocket or store in your safe deposit box at the bank. Everyone who trades Bitcoin or other digital currencies simply accepts that it exists.
The U.S. government has passed a law enacting a $1.9 trillion stimulus package. Put another way, the U.S. government has printed $1.9 trillion more dollars. This was on top of another $2 trillion they printed last March. And presumably there's more where that came from!
Published by Comments Off on Money Mistakes Are Temporary
A common TV trope features someone who's down on their luck and forced to borrow from someone with questionable moral scruples: a loan shark, the Mafia, a representative from Wells Fargo.
As fate would have it, they fall further and further behind, until they're in an even greater bind. Soon they're being pursued by the loan shark, who threatens to break their legs, or by Wells Fargo, which forces them to remain on hold for hours. The rest of the story unfolds as the protagonist desperately tries to resolve their dilemma. What will they do? How will they get the money?
"Getting the money" makes for a good plot foundation, since money is something that everyone wants. And when you don't have it, it becomes all that you think about.
But what if you didn't have to "get the money"? What if you just decided to not care?
Published by Comments Off on Do This When You Visit a New Place
Pandemic life has taught many of us to appreciate moments in life that might otherwise pass us by. I've been trying to pause and take note of how I feel at the end of the day, often as I walk in the park or one of my nearby neighborhoods.
With that in mind, here's a tip inspired by The Art of Stopping Time, a book by Pedram Shojai: whenever you visit a place that's new to you, consider the sense that you might never be there again.
Just imagine: this might be it! Your only opportunity in one lifetime to visit this particular place. How might this make you feel?
What, you say you aren't traveling much now? That's okay.
This "new place" could be anywhere: a part of the woods you've never seen on your next nature hike, for example, or even a street in your neighborhood you've never driven before. The point is to create awareness and appreciation.
Published by Comments Off on How to Conduct an Annual Review (2020 Edition!) 🗓
Every December for the past fifteen years, I've completed an exercise I call the Annual Review.
This year is different in some ways, but then again, so is every year for one reason or another. In fact, that's one of the things that's so beneficial about the Review: in the midst of whatever craziness is happening, it helps to ground your attention and give you something to work on over the next year.
This post contains an overview of the process, along with links that might be helpful for your own review. If you'd like to go waaaaay back to the original post from 2008, you can do that too. Enjoy!
Published by Comments Off on Thank you, 2020. It was terrible and wonderful.
I started writing this note by trying to take stock of a few things about this year that were good.
The process was easier than I expected. Sure, 2020 has been a dumpster fire year in many ways. But when I really stopped to think about it, it wasn't hard to identify several things in my life that wouldn't have happened were it not for the world coming to a stop.
It's always possible to find silver linings, and in a brief examination I found several.
Published by Comments Off on What Would You Say If You Could Go Back in Time?
Welcome to the beginning of the strangest year the modern world has ever known. You don't realize it now, but life as you know it is about to change drastically.
Remember how you've been talking to everyone about "working from anywhere" for the past decade? Well, now the entire workforce will be leaving their offices and telecommuting. One problem: they can't actually go anywhere. Working remotely usually implies freedom, but in this case it points to constraint. Simply put, the workforce is working remotely because it's not safe to work together.
Most of the world's borders will have closed, though if you want to visit the Maldives, you can buy an unlimited pass to a luxury hotel for all of 2021.
Published by Comments Off on We did it. Now what? 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
Friends and readers, we did it. It actually happened!
I'm reminded of the quote that's attributed to Winston Churchill: "You can always count on America to do the right thing, after it has exhausted all other options."
The monumental U.S. election results won't change everything, but they do send a clear signal of most Americans' wish for change. We have slain the dragon, for now.
When I wrote about the election a few weeks ago, I got more response than anything I've shared in years. In fact, in ten years of writing online, I don't think I've ever had more negative comments (though, fortunately, the positives outnumbered the negatives 3-to-1). Well, here we are now, and the world is a very different place.
Published by Comments Off on A Love Letter to Trump Supporters ❤️
I’d like to speak to any of my readers who have supported the current U.S. president in the past, or who are planning to do so again this year. There aren’t a lot of you, but you tend to be very vocal—and believe it or not, I’ve been trying to understand where you’re coming from.
I wrote and rewrote this post at least three times before figuring out what I wanted to say. I knew that if I insulted you, you wouldn’t listen—which is fair, because I don’t tend to listen to people who insult me either.
One of you wrote to me recently to say that I must think everyone who supports Trump is a moron. But that’s not true, I replied. I think a lot of them know exactly what they’re getting with their candidate.
But then the spring turned to summer, and the summer to fall (at least in my part of the world). And nothing really got better! Quite the opposite, in fact.
Now we’re all setting low expectations for standards of wellbeing. “Hope you’re hanging in there” is the new “Hope you’re doing well.” And let’s face it, lots of people aren’t doing well.
So, finally, I’ve come to the point of feeling defeated about the whole year—and I know it’s not just me.
Published by Comments Off on Working Hard at Something That Doesn’t Matter
“Our greatest fear should not be failure but succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.”
Last year, pre-pandemic, I went to a three-day yoga retreat in Arizona. I'd never done such a thing before and was thinking of signing up for a longer one, so this seemed like a safe introduction.
The yoga itself was good. I enjoyed the classes and met a few nice people.
Among the group of one-hundred or so attendees, I noticed that several of them spent a lot of time working on their selfie game. Some even had a pro photographer in tow, who documented their poses, attempts at acro yoga, and bikini collections.
Published by Comments Off on The Steps Before the First Step
If you try to tackle a big project and end up getting stuck somewhere along the way, it might mean that some steps are missing.
Imagine trying to complete a difficult, 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Even though it has a thousand pieces, finishing the puzzle requires to complete more than a thousand steps.
You need to spend time sorting, grouping, and looking for edge pieces. You also might have to undo some parts of your work as you go along—which adds more steps, since now you need to override previous tasks that you thought had been completed.
This is all logical enough, but a) it takes time, and b) if you haven’t ever done a large puzzle before, you might get frustrated. You might give up along the way, leaving your puzzle half-finished and sitting on the kitchen table for weeks. Finally, you push the pieces back into the box, swearing off puzzles until the next family holiday gathering or global pandemic.
Published by Comments Off on The Courage to Change Your Mind
Here's a helpful filter to know when to worry: does something sound too good to be true, or does it sound so bad that people give up and stop thinking for themselves?
Either way, when everyone around you agrees, it's worth asking some questions. Questions like: "What’s really going on here—and who is threatened by disagreement?"
Consider it an opportunity! When it comes to Coronavirus life, an astounding amount of groupthink is currently taking place. It’s as though everyone is taking the collective temperature (no pun intended...) before deciding what they believe and how they should act.