Reproach

When you call someone “untrustworthy” or “ungrateful”, turn the reproach on yourself. It was you who did wrong by assuming that someone with those traits deserved your trust. Or by doing them a favor and expecting something in return, instead of looking to the action itself for your reward. What else did you expect from helping someone out? Isn’t it enough that you’ve done what your nature demands? You want a salary for it too?

~ Marcus Aurelius, 9.42

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Nostalgia

Longing for the past is generally referred to as nostalgia – a gentle, tender feeling that might make these stories seem like nothing more than harmless sentimentality. But it is crucial to distinguish between wistful memories of grandma’s kitchen and belief in a prior state of cultural perfection.

~ Alan Jay Levinovitz from, https://aeon.co/essays/nostalgia-exerts-a-strong-allure-and-extracts-a-steep-price

You may or may not like that particular essay; There are 2,000 others to choose from over on Aeon. I was poking around, found this one, and pinned it for later reading. Figuring out how to pin things for later reading is a huge force multiplier. When I want to read good stuff, I never spend time looking for good stuff. I just go to the pile of good stuff—twitch at the 700+ items, veer back over into “that’s an embarrassment of riches, long live the open Internet—and start reading. Hmmm… nostalgia?

I remember, back in The Day, when I used to really enjoy reading— wait, no. That’s today, and without the 20-minute car ride to the Hall of Books.

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Conversation

Lesson number one, when people ask me what [interviewing] tips would I give, is aim for the heart, not the head. Once you get the heart, you can go to the head. Once you get the heart and the head, then you’ll have a pathway to the soul.

~ Cal Fussman

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An impression

The passage that follows is from a book I’m working on right now. I’m not sure the passage works for a Writing Wednesdays post, but what the hell, I like it and my instinct tells me to put it out there.

~ Steven Pressfield from, https://stevenpressfield.com/2022/07/the-river/

I do have certain distinctly imprinted “passages” from my own story. No, it’s not story-time today. Upon reading Pressfield’s comment (and the passage) I was left wondering what was the critical feature (or features) of my own passages which made them indelible. It certainly wasn’t receipt of accolades or actual accomplishment. It certainly wasn’t that a passage began with a grand vision or even a coherent plan.

I hope you weren’t expecting me to have an answer… this blog is, after all, just me working with the garage door up.

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Step 2

People – especially really smart people – have a tendency to attempt solving big problems (like earning a profit) without first solving more basic ones (like how you’ll get there). This is why the “Step 1, Step 3” joke resonates. And it’s why understanding the hierarchy of earning profit is so important.

~ Morgan Housel from, https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/the-hierarchy-of-earning-profit/

Oh, crikey! That’d be me. I too–frequently get frustrated when my “awesome idea” isn’t received the way I’d like it to be. I think it’s exactly the same step–two problem that Housel points out. I’m jumping over step 2. But in cases where I try to figure out step 2… *crickets* It occurs to me that there’s another way to address the issue: Stop chasing ideas that solve a problem that I have, and instead try to chase an idea that solves a problem someone else has.

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Full stop

Death is a declarative punctuation mark – a period in a life full of commas and semicolons. Death is a full stop, the end of opportunities for the deceased and those who knew them. Death is cruel like that.

~ Hugh Hollowell from, https://www.soverybeautiful.org/if-we-love-we-grieve/

I like the punctuation metaphor. I like the finality of the imagery. When I read that turn of phrase, I heard the sharp crack of a mechanical typewriter striking the period. I’m just not sure that the metaphor is apt for the experience of someone else’s death. That’s always been more like turning the page, midway through a book, and discovering the next face—and alas all the subsequent pages—are inexplicably blank. That’s not a period or an ellipses or even a highbrow em-dash. That’s just

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And in the end

It’s great to live a life of courage and compassion… but all the courage and compassion in the world doesn’t make any of it any easier. All it can do is hopefully make it more meaningful, somehow.

~ Hugh MacLeod from, https://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/2022/07/12/the-one-choice-all-fulfilled-people-make/

I’d go further: The more courage and compassion I muster, the harder it gets. Compassion gives me a big “why” that burns inside, driving me to the next, harder challenge. Courage begets more courage; With each win won through courage, it becomes easier to again deploy courage intentionally. It seems that courage and compassion lead to the tackling of increasing great and difficult challenges. Meaning is great, but I haven’t yet figured out how to use any of it to pay the proverbial rent.

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Journalism

The point of journalism is the truth. The point of journalism is not to improve society. There are things, there are facts, there are truths that actually feel regressive, but it doesn’t matter, because the point of journalism isn’t to make everything better. It’s to give people accurate information about how things are.

~ Sebastian Junger

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