Reading Time: 3 minutes
There are moments where things come easily to us—ideas, opportunities, joy. The question is what we do with the rest of our time. Do we self-medicate? Rise and grind? Be present and mindful? I’m going to suggest that there’s a time and a place for each of these things. The unifying theme, however, is simpler: turn up the good and turn down the suck. This week’s roundup of articles will help you do just that.
“Raise your hand if you’re sick of hearing that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.”
North American culture puts an undue emphasis on effort. Meanwhile, we manage to forget what that effort is for in the first place. We touched on this topic two weeks ago with “struggle porn” which are would-be motivational screeds and videos about grinding. This quick read offers another take on the idea that maybe you don’t need to bleed Red Bull to be successful.
When I think about exercise (and I think about exercise a lot) I picture the people who are relentlessly pushing and never allowing themselves to be comfortable. I’ve seen many of them felled by injury or burnout. I believe that this happens precisely because they never spend time anywhere but the discomfort zone. Never feeling comfortable means never feeling safe enough to experiment or explore, and exploration and experimentation are required for true mastery. Effort? Of course! But quiet, reflective moments too. Be gentler with yourselves folks!
“Put in practical terms, when thinking of yourself in a month or a year or a decade, your brain registers that person in ways similar to how it would register Taylor Swift or the mailman.”
The old joke is, “Pay my taxes!? That’s a problem for Future Me!” Taxes is a stand-in for doing the laundry or saving for retirement or anything else that requires present sacrifice for future rewards. The challenge of delayed gratification is so well known that I struggle to think of a business book that doesn’t reference the Marshmallow Test. It turns out that there is some meaningful research behind why this issue exists. While there are no easy solutions (sorry, you can’t eat the marshmallow yet), there are still most definitely solutions. Finally, if you’re saying, “Hey, I should read this article later,”then I strongly suggest you follow some of the excellent advice within and schedule that time. Future You will thank you.
“Hatred has an insidious way of hanging on, never quite disappearing, even for the ones who want to wish it away the most.”
I try to keep it positive here in our Friday Bulletin because honestly, we could all use more positivity in our lives. However, I feel compelled to share this article on overcoming racism. It drew me in becauseI’ve never met a person with hate in their heart for others who also had great compassion for themselves. If self-compassion is something you struggle with—or if you are snapped into hate or anger—I urge you to look here for common threads on how to retrain your own mental habits. Prejudice may be tightly tied to the antiquated wiring systems of the brain but we can successfully transcend it with intentional practice. In other words, if you don’t think you have implicit prejudices (which you do) then you won’t develop strategies to overcome.
“It doesn’t matter how fast you move if it’s in a worthless direction.”
This is an easy read, filled with concise, useful advice on being more productive. If the unsexy part of getting rich is not wasting your money, then the unsexy part of productivity is being ruthless about saying no to time sucks.
“It’s just like a quarter inch or, you know, an eighth of an inch. Jomp! A little drop, you feel that and then you know you’ve gotten into that state.”
The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley has been putting out some tremendously thoughtful content—including this discussion of how to tune into your body with martial arts star, Daniel Wu and neuroscientist Helen Weng. I particularly like Weng’s description of the process as tuning into the “raw signals of your body” and viewing them as a benevolent transmission of information—even when there’s pain. You may wish to listen to this one, recording and transcript are both available here.
It’s a big ole world out there. Be gentle with yourself.
Want to have our Friday Bulletin’s delivered piping-hot to your inbox?