This is a two-chapter excerpt from a book, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown, a book about being an essentialist.
At the beginning of 2018 I latched onto the idea that by saying, “yes,” to something I am cutting off a nearly infinite number of opportunities. Whereas by saying, “no,” I am cutting off just one opportunity and leaving space for a nearly infinite number of other opportunities. That makes, “no,” the obviously better default answer, yes?
…when you look at everything that goes wrong historically, you can see a deep chain of continuous mistakes that lead up to it. And in a way, that’s really discouraging because it makes you think about each step leading to greater consequences. But on the other hand, it’s really encouraging because if you think about it and you think about, “Oh, wait. What if you do something right? And you do something right right now, you’re starting a whole other chain of events that can lead to a really positive outcome.” And so, his point when he was making the statement which was more or less that is even if things seem like they’re going in the wrong direction or things seem really wrong, you can stop, and you can do something small that’s right.
~ Nick Thompson, Editor-In-Chief of WIRED
Not only the studying and writing of history but also the honoring of it both represent affirmations of a certain defiant faith — a desperate, unreasoning faith, if you will — but faith nevertheless in the endurance of this threatened world — faith in the total essentiality of historical continuity.
~ George Kennan, The New York Times (27 May 1984)
This was a great interview where they spent a lot time talking about how writing really works, how good stories get written, and how good editors make or break publications. A long listen, but for me, it was a delightful glimpse into a new world.
If you ask anyone who’s read [Fahrenheit 451], that hasn’t read it in like 20 years, “What do you remember of how that came to be in the book?” They’d say, “There’s this totalitarian government.” The truth is, it was the people. It was the people who decided that any dissenting opinions that would offend specific groups in society, ought to be burned. So it was self-inflicted. I think that’s what we are doing right now. We are slowly torching the first amendment and free speech by, basically, going on these witch hunts. I think it’s the most dangerous thing in the U.S. right now.~ Tim Ferris from, https://tim.blog/2016/06/18/jamie-foxx-part-2-bringing-the-thunder/
Normally, the Tim Ferris show is Tim interviewing his guests. But this episode is a rebroadcast of Jamie Foxx interviewing Tim.
First, great book. Second, I’m a huge believer of the marketplace of ideas. (That’s a significant part of the reason behind my Movers Mindset podcast project.)
This is an insane, 3-hour-long interview. Which I listened to twice. (So far.) Christopher Sommer ( https://www.gymnasticbodies.com/blog/ ) is an Olympic Gymnastics coach and this interview has broadened my horizons– about training, about strength, about recovery, about success, about goals, about gymnastics… I could not even decide what to pull-quote.
Krishnamurti has this definition of suffering that I really like, “Suffering is that moment when you see reality exactly as it is. When you can no longer run away from it, when you can no longer deny it.”~ Naval Ravikant from, https://tim.blog/2015/08/18/the-evolutionary-angel-naval-ravikant/
I don’t know anything about Krishnamurti. But I know a good statement that cuts right through all the day-to-day bullshit; That right there is one.
I’ll save you some digging: Naval is quoting Jiddu Krishnamurti, apparently from The Book of Life: Daily Meditations.
…also, go listen to this entire podcast. It’s insanely long at 2+ hours, but Naval is a real down-to-Earth guy with a lot of useful advice on how to live.
I have found that part of the struggle of actually finding happiness as an artist is the very fight to not define success by the way that the rest of the world defines success. Which is hard because you have to fight the same battles every day. Because you go out into the work environment and the entire industry– And even to a certain extent your own fans because they’re sort of all drinking the same Kool-Aid– are all telling you “Success is defined by this, success is defined by this, and success is defined by this.”
And you’re there in your own little bubble going, “well, no that’s not really true.” I know that there is that superficial level of success, but then there’s also my personal success which no one else can define for me. It really is only defined by how happy was I when I woke up this morning, and how happy am I when I’m bedding down at night. That’s not reflected in any of the billboard charts or any of the iTunes downloads.
So success has this very two-faced essence where, as an artist playing the game in the industry and putting out music and putting out books and so forth, you kind of have to play that game a little bit and ride the balance of trying to get your books on the New York Times best-selling list and know what to do to do that. But also, simultaneously, not drinking the Kool-Aid. Instead, like swishing it around in your mouth, getting the taste, and then spitting it out. …like being a wine sommelier who does not drink.~Amanda Palmer from, https://tim.blog/2015/03/30/amanda-palmer/
I am continuosly going through cycles of expanding the bells-and-whistles on everything I’m doing– more social posts, more this, more that, more cow bell… and then– as Amanda puts it– spitting the Kool-Aid out, stripping things back down to a new, better core and then again plowing forward.
Freedom is the capacity to pause in the face of stimuli from many directions at once and, in this pause, to throw one’s weight toward this response rather than that one.
The pause is especially important for the freedom of being, what I have called essential freedom. For it is in the pause that we experience the context out of which freedom comes. In the pause we wonder, reflect, sense awe, and conceive of eternity. The pause is when we open ourselves for the moment to the concepts of both freedom and destiny.~ Rollo May from, “Freedom and Destiny”
Check out Maria Popova’s, “Existential Psychologist Rollo May on Freedom and the Significance of the Pause”
…and my favorite season is here! I love the cool evenings, and how the knowledge that Daylight Savings is about to kick in makes me pay extra attention to my time outdoors in the evening. One thing I love doing is walking while listening to podcasts where I often find inspiring gems.
Here’s an example from The Tim Ferris Show Episode #86
Around 1 hour 20 miutes in, Chris Fussell says:
I had a great mentor of mine, early on in my carrer, say, you should have a running list of three people — you can but you don’t need to share it with them or the world — that you’re always watching: Someone senior to you that you want to emulate; A peer who you think is better at the job than you, and you respect; And someone subordinate who is doing the job that you did a year or two or three years ago better than you did it. If you just have those three individuals that you’re constantly measuring yourself off of, and who you’re constantly learning from, you’re going to be exponentially better.~ Chris Fussell
Aside: DST should be abolished. It no longer saves us energy (it’s original purpose), but it does cause a statistically significant rise in traffic accidents:
(that’s the actual New England Journal of Medicine mind you.)
I just finished listening to Tim Ferris’ interview of Jerzy Gregorek.
(episode #228 from March of 2017)
It’s a very long podcast, but I really enjoyed getting to know Jerzey. Around 2h39m in, as they’re wrapping up, he says…
I see that the first 50 years is your first body, but also it is “nature versus nurture.” So you have the nature; you use the body, but you don’t care. The body is fantastic, it is restoring itself, it is recovering itself, and it is very, very forgiving. The next 50 years is the nurture. It’s time to be intelligent, it’s time to have goals, it’s time to have plans, it’s time for that. So if we start nurturing the body we can easily go for another 50 years, right? So that’s our second body. There is this gracefulness on the road that we need to learn. Once you get that gracefulness then your journey can be pleasant, your journey can be proressive and your journey can be joyful.~ Jerzey Gregorek
I’m not quite 50, but this really resonated with my recent [several years worth] work, efforts, journey and progess.
Update Oct ’17:
Link to Jerzey’s “Happy Body” book which I’m really enjoying. He has a very direct and simple way of defining, measuring and working towards a happy body — meaning one that is basically fit — in the sense of fit for living. There are several companion books, (and a companion poster). I don’t feel the need to buy the books, yet ;) but the poster might be handy.