Another day, another heatwave, another stream of things because frankly i didn’t feel like re-watching another episode of Seinfeld during my lunch break. So here we are!
In this edition, consider a pot pourri of short-ish perspectives on things like:
Diversity of thought
Interest over happiness
The relative value of things
Humility, respect and (work) identity
Decision-making data or nope
Extortionate locutions (aka expensive words)
And the occasional cool tweet cos cool tweets are cool
*speaks in Lil Jon* YEAH.
🍣 Slices to feed your brain while trying to not swim naked
“In the absence of variety, bad ideas tend to stick around.” Muller's ratchet, via Morgan Housel
Or, how evolution, like investing, company culture and all sorts of intellectual pursuits, benefits from diversity and diversification, even if that means a bit more chaos in the process. The more variation there is kicking around a topic or decision, the better the long-term outcome. Does this make us uncomfortable? Yeah, sure can. But no one ever said doing the right thing was for the faint of heart.
“I do not like the idea of happiness — it is too momentary. I would say that I was always busy and interested in something — interest has more meaning to me than the idea of happiness.” Georgia O'Keefe
There is something soothing about letting go of the idea of happiness as an end state. Of course, moments of happiness are most welcome, but aspiring to feeling happy all the time feels like the game of psychopaths (because all happiness all the time probably means no conscience none of the time). Whereas looking for meaning by staying interested (and therefore being interesting) feels far more achievable, because it also suggests it’s a never-ending process. The Good Enough Parent talks about the aspiration to raise interesting kids, so it feels right that we’d also want to cultivate the responsibility of staying interesting adults. Plus, if all we ever do is based on what makes us happy, then the risk is we feel too content to ever want to change things.
(Or, how Buddhism makes a lot of sense until you need to stand up against bullies.)
“The fastest way to become rich is to socialize with the poor; the fastest way to become poor is to socialize with the rich.” Nassim Taleb
Or, how most of our evaluations and decisions are made in relation to something else, as opposed to in isolation. Which makes neuroplasticity a welcome friend, reframing a powerful superpower, and perspective the best religion we could ever practise.
“In life there isn’t a single person that knows everything and there is no person that knows nothing.” Marie-Christine Gasingirwa
As a build on the previous note, i’ve been reflecting a lot on what it means to make life and work decisions based on hope, instead of fear. And this much i know about myself: every single time i felt afraid, i default to cocooning inside my own brain instead of opening up to another person and letting their own brain process run free.
Which is a fancy way of saying that, in the planning process, and most certainly when trying to understand audiences who do not look, think, feel or act like us, there is a possibility that we avoid talking to others because we’re afraid (of not being good enough to solving on our own, of being told our hypotheses are not quite right, of that somehow turning into a strong opinion that we are not quite right).
Once we acknowledge, however, that it’s impossible for us to know everything, and equally impossible for virtually everyone else to know nothing, we approach things from a place of humility, respect and un-preciousness. For that to happen, though, we need to disentangle our own identities from being solely reliant on the wins or fails at work, and instead see work as another limb to our body, not the whole body itself.
“If you’re not going to use the data to make a decision, don’t spend the time to expose yourself to it.” Seth Godin
Or, how presenting research and calling it insights but actually all you’re saying is they’re ‘interesting things to know’ is usually a waste of time for both the person doing the work, and the person being presented the work. Start with interesting, for sure, but pretty quickly get to why it’s important for whatever needs to happen next.
There is probably also a point here about having intent around our own media diets in general, and device usage in particular, which is worth remembering every time we feel the need to kill every. Single. Moment. Of. Boredom. In. Modern. Existence.
“It’s only when the tide goes out that you find out who has been swimming naked.” Warren Buffet
Perfect analogy for how a deluge of slides and expensive words often masks a whole lot of nothing. My most repeated tip to anyone writing a brief or presentation or point of view? Make sure you can explain this without ever needing to look at it. It’s either memorable to you, who did the work, or it’s not memorable for others, which limits how much energy they’re willing to spend on making the damn thing work. Of course, a cool set of slides or a neat one-pager are great aides. But they’re that, your aides. Not your masters. Speaking of masters… mum i finally got over myself and did a TikTok!