3 New Ideas 💡

“alles mit maß und ziel” 🧰
“alles mit maß und ziel” is a German idiom that translates to “everything with measure and objective.” The phrase is a good reminder for us to always keep two things in mind with any pursuit: our objective (our goals and the why’s behind our action) and an awareness of what we are measuring (the feedback loops and reflection that inform us of whether we’re headed in the right direction or whether we require an adjustment of course).

I like to think of this phrase in terms of how we choose to live our life with intention. Think about the goals you set for yourself and the ends you’re pursuing, then keep yourself in check through mindfulness and systems of reflection. Iterate on your systems, consider what metrics you are optimising for and approach everything with measure and objective in mind.

Cheap Abundance 🔌
Many of us are familiar with the moving-laptop-charger problem. You have one charger that lives for the most part at your desk but when you go out, you have to take the pains to dig under your desk, unplug it from its place of rest and wrap it up to put in your bag. Sometimes you forget it entirely and a cafe run is cut short by the sad depleted battery sign flashing on your screen. Considering that we could be rid of this frequent (maybe less so when we’re all stuck at home) annoyance entirely by having a second charger that lives in our bag, it seems like a no-brainer to make that purchase.

This is the idea behind cheap abundance. Many small annoyances that build up over time seem to stem from not having enough of something that could be easily purchased in abundance. Maybe instead of the laptop charger problem, you’ve run into similar issues fighting with friends and family members over a phone charger or a missing pen. I’ll caveat this by saying that this mindset shouldn’t be used to justify overconsumption and waste but money is not the only resource we should be trying to save. Think about the time, energy, relationships that you could save by just having a bit more than the bare minimum.

Mindful Productivity 🧠
As Anne-Laure puts it: “Being mindful means interrupting the autopilot mode we often use on a day-to-day basis, taking the time to appreciate the little things, and observing your mental events.”

Mindful productivity is about moving away from purely pursuing production and getting things done at all costs. Instead, it tells us to shift our focus towards developing an awareness of what that production is serving and what it might be causing us to sacrifice. It can be easy to fall into the trap of measuring your self-worth by the amount of tasks you cross off your to-do list or by the number of hours spent ‘working’ but if you’re not choosing to ask yourself why or checking in on your other needs (health, emotions, energy, relationships) then what’s the point of it all?

Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a 10-minute meditation that throws a wrench into the flow of your work, more importantly it’s about registering your emotions and thoughts throughout the day and consciously responding to them.

3 Favourite Saves 💾

Arnold Schwarzenegger needs no introduction thanks to his Mr. Universe appearances and Hollywood roles but this episode of the Tim Ferris Show goes beyond all that to show the superhuman that Arnold is even without being half robot. Arnold sheds light on his life growing up poor in Austria, the secret behind his confidence as a young bodybuilder and how he came to be a millionaire even before his acting career took off. A great listen to inspire and get you off the couch.

How to Take Smart Notes is a book for anybody that cares about learning and writing. Targetted at students, researchers and writers alike, Sonke Ahrens provides a user manual for approaching the neglected bulk of writing that we do before starting our first draft: the note-taking. Many of us believe that our writing starts from a blank page, but Ahrens introduces a simple system for capturing and connecting ideas that will turn writing into a simple act of stitching along the lines that were laid out by your past-self.

The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius is a piece from Y Combinator founder Paul Graham. The essay characterises great work as the result of having a “disinterested obsession with something that matters.” Offering an alternative to the idea that success is a product of natural ability and hard work, Graham draws examples from ‘geniuses’ like Newton, Darwin and Ramanujan to show that passionate curiosity directed towards a promising field is what drives great achievement. His argument is not without problems (that Graham himself brings up): uncertainties like “how do you identify promising fields?” and “what about all the obsessed failures that you don’t see?” but his essay is a good reminder to incorporate curiosity and passion into everything we do.

3 Quotes to Think About 📝

“Chance favours the prepared mind.” - Louis Pasteur

“A society based on production is only productive, not creative.” - Albert Camus

“Pursuing the dream is the dream itself. It’s the process. The failures, trials, and tribulations. It’s the self-growth, the self-awareness, and the self-discovery that occur during a dream pursuit.” - MJ DeMarco, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship

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