#23: Bad stuff happens to me
Sometimes, bad stuff happens to me:
I wake up on the wrong side of the bed
I run out of coffee
My alarm doesn’t go off
I get the evil eye from a neighbor on our daily morning run
My bike comes close to taking a nose dive off of the bus’s bike rack
I get lost going to a new destination
My luggage is late
I miss my flight
The bus I take every morning doesn’t show up
How dare the world mock me like this? I do not deserve to be treated this way. I am a good person. I recycle and compost. I am kind to strangers. I keep 6 feet away from others in public spaces.
I guess bad things just happen to good people.
Peace - I’m out. I need to get my nails done.
Okay. If you’ve known me more for a long time - 60 seconds or longer - you know that I’m being facetious.
The world is actually not a cruel place. Our mindset oftentimes plays tricks on us.
Let’s do an experiment.
Answer the following questions, silently, to yourself:
Today, was there a time when I got frustrated?
Did I get frustrated at myself, another person, or at a situation?
Did I think about a different perspective?
I’m not a psychologist (even though I sometimes play one in this newsletter), but I bet the third question was the hardest to answer.
Reframing challenging situations by thinking about a different perspective is one of the most powerful exercises we can do for our well-being.
If you are someone who struggles with keeping an optimistic mindset, you can practice a few exercises:
Speak to yourself in the third person. This helps to move the spotlight away from “I”, from your internal reality, to the experience of the other person.
After a frustrating situation or conflict, write about the experience from the perspective of another. Even if it’s a stranger, how do you think this person feels?
Our mindset constructs our reality. Practicing an optimistic mindset, one where you see daily events as just happening, rather than as happening “to you,” helps to maintain a positive, healthy outlook on all of life’s moments.
Sometimes, stuff happens. You don’t have to label it as good or bad. It just happens.
P.S. I know you have just completed a long work week. I wish you a relaxing and nourishing weekend.
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Take a peek outside your window.
To my right, I see a big coniferous tree with a luscious green top but many brown branches on the bottom. I wonder if this tree is sick. Perhaps.
To my left, I see a big coniferous tr
I also see some vines growing on the fence. lot of balconies. My bedroom window, where my writing desk is, overlooks the backside of apartment buildings. I see my neighbor’s window: the reflection of sunlight, an amber orange color, creates a distortion effect.
Today was a weird day. It didn't go like I wanted it to.
I woke up at my usual wake up time of 630. I was out of coffee, but I knew that ahead of time. I chose to not drink coffee. Instead, I drank green tea. I felt a little caffeine boost and it was enough to satisfy me.
The problem started when I sat down at my computer to write. All I could muster to write down was 3 or 4 sentences. I was disappointed.
I started to read my open tabs. I had a few articles from Aeon, a New Yorker article about a modern day feminist philosopher, an Aeon article about metacognition and speaking to ourselves in the third person.
I checked my email and went through some newsletters. I unsubscribed from one because I thought it was boring & high level. I really enjoyed another one which led me to a video of Steve Jobs talking about product over profit and his philosophy of “imputing” value. Great! What now? I ask.
Later, I went to Discord to the Foster community. I’m planning a trip to Europe and I needed to coordinate with people, ask if they will be in town. A few people I talk to often and others I talk to very little now, like Achim.
I rushed out of the house to catch the bus up to Grizzly Peak where my friend Liz lives. She has a beautiful home and I’m so happy for her. She works in consulting doing some building maintenance projects. She is more on the academic side, more technical. Idk. I don’t really know what she does.
It’s really hard to explain what I do.
I got off the bus and I took the 67 instead of the 65 so I had to bike about 1 mile. When I arrived, I saw Liz’s roommate walking their big large poodle. I walked in, dropped my bike off on the side of the garden, on the railing. I walked up to the house, met Brianna, there was cheeseboard. I was feeling chatty. I talked and socialized.
Then, I had a call with Nich who is in Lisbon. She’s part of this DAO called Metacartel with some women. I didn’t understand what on earth she does for work. She said she likes MGD because women who have never used crypto before use it. I don’t want to be an evangelist of crypto. Once you’re in it, it’s hard to not be. It sucks you in. It’s very tribal.
I took a nap in the middle of the day on the couch. Then I went outside and chatted with the gals. I felt uncomfortable talking about crypto. I wanted to talk about something else.
One of the hardest things to do is to trust ourselves. Trust that things will work out, without pushing, without willpower.
What if there was nothing to “c
I think th
Something is unhinging. We’re in the great unwinding.
Now, I don’t think people
Thinking for pleasure is a massively underrated activity. When coupled with writing, you become a superhero. Seriously.
Imagine your mind like a vast ocean. As humans, we are incapable of understanding its magnitude: its vastness, depth, and sheer volume. But we try. Every new experience gets filed away somewhere, in the deep ocean of experience, feeling, thoughts, emotion. It’s only through writing that we comprehend what is happening in our minds. We need to consume good content. Yeee.
Writing is inherently a thinking for pleasure activity.
Writing teaches you how to structure your thoughts. Once your thoughts are out on paper, it’s much easier to make sense of your reality.
Physically seeing sentences is like
them around, to reconfigure them, like a jigsaw puzzle.
A good piece of writing advice when you’re feeling stuck is to write one truth. Write one sentence that is true
The hardest thing about writing - getting over perfectionism and just letting the words flow - is also the most therapeutic.
What if you could keep a physical log of every thought that crosses your mind? Tj
How would it feel to simply sit with your thoughts? Kind of like meditation, but not exactly.
When you think for pleasure, you find a cozy place - either inside or outside - where you feel comfortable and relaxed.
You take out a pen and paper and just note the thoughts that come to mind. It’s like a journaling meditation. Unlike meditation, you can problem solve, you can rationalize, you can just sit and be and do nothing.
Steve Jobs said,
If you really focus on making an insanely good product, the profits are going to follow
I agree, and this principle can be applied to meaningful work. If you do meaningful work, the profits will follow. How do I know this? I just do. Once you get a taste of meaning, and freedom, and relaxation, and few meetings, you don’t wanna go back.
Diffuse attention. context switching. writing.
I am embarrassed to admit that at one point in my life, I thought I had life all figured out. I graduated college and got my “dream” job at a big consulting firm. It was my dream back then. I remember driving on the highway and looking up at the big skyscraper of Ernst and Young, one of the companies I interviewed with, a fresh face hoping to get a big job, and crossing my fingers that I do well in my interview.
Yuck. Now. I say.
We are past the days of corporations and aspiring to live someone else’s dream. It’s time to wake up and live our own. When we do wake up, we’ll have some regrets, like wow I wish I was doing this sooner, I wish I had another outlook on life before, I wish I had certain opportunities. When we wake up, it may feel no different than before we wake up. Seriously, it might feel the same. It will feel the same.
Pick a book off the shelf. This is your life worth living.
We get stuck ruminating - what if I chose this path, what if I dated this person, what if I was taller, younger, smarter, what if I chose this job over another. We get stuck. The truth is we’re constantly becoming and when we stop believing in that becoming, we become stuck, stale, stagnant.
A person stuck in the productivity trap would say…”if i just exist, how will i ever get stuff done? or.. my boss won’t like that…or my parents taught me to work hard. they would disagree. or..who even cares if I exist.. it’s so nihilistic and cynical.