“We should spare ourselves the burden of loneliness. We are far from the only ones with this problem. Everyone is more anxious than they are inclined to tell us. Even the tycoon and the couple in love are suffering. We’ve collectively failed to admit to ourselves what we are truly like.”
A long and interesting read: Calm by Alan de Botton
“People are complicated… Societies and cultures are really complicated… These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding.”
– Barack Obama
From this New Yorker piece by David Remnik.
“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.”
– Toni Morrison
No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear: Toni Morrison on the Artist’s Task in Troubled Times
“Groups of people are gathering and freezing themselves in place, often in elaborate poses and scenarios, as one camera-toting person walks through the scene to zoom in on the details. As is often the case, teenagers are leading the way.”
Mannequin Challenge Is the New Viral Video Sensation You Probably Can’t Avoid
“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
The Shortness of Life: Seneca on Busyness and the Art of Living Wide Rather Than Living Long
“Rigor is the key to overcoming obstacles and completing tasks—and good mood doesn’t improve problem-solving, which involves judgments that almost by necessity won’t feel good: critique and evaluation, experimentation and failure. The stress that arises from problems may be unpleasant but it also motivates us to complete tasks, Davis says. In other words, negative emotions are actually beneficial to the creative process.”
Scientists explain how happiness makes us less creative
The fact is: sometimes you just have to do things for no other reason than to do them. Do them because you can. Because they exist. As George Mallory said when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest: “Because it’s there.”
3 important life skills nobody ever taught you.
(via my favorite newsletter)
“Before you can go to the Bahamas for a week, don’t you first need to learn how to tolerate an entire elevator ride without checking your email?”
This Slate article explains why we need to take more vacation and offers examples of how some companies get more of their employees to do so. Definitely something you don’t need to teach the Swiss, but seems to be the case here in the US.
(via Josh Spector’s newsletter)
What was once known as the land of cheap rip-offs may now offer a glimpse of the future — and American companies are taking notice: Chinese Tech Firms Forced to Choose Market: Home or Everywhere Else
“…It’s really powerful to vocalize what’s going on inside your head to someone who you know is listening to you and to know that it’s a safe enough space that you can test out dumb ideas or mistakes, and analyze them, and they’re not going to hold them against you.”
Productivity and the Power of Trust
“One of the reasons that so many of the tasks on our to-do lists end up woefully undone is because we have to go to meetings, and we have to do email; they create their own urgency. But if you want to make sure that you regularly accomplish meaningful work—the type of work that helps you advance your career, push forward important projects, or expand your skill set—you have to make time for it. (Productivity guru Stephen Covey calls this putting the “big rocks” in first.)
It so obvious yet I have never done it, but carving out time for ‘meaningful work’ is the first thing I’ll start doing after reading this article by Jocelyn G. Klei.
“It’s possible to create a huge tech company without taking venture capital, and without spending far beyond your means. It’s possible, in other words, to start a tech company that runs more like a normal business than a debt-fueled rocket ship careening out of control. Believe it or not, start-ups don’t even have to be headquartered in San Francisco or Silicon Valley.”
MailChimp and the Un-Silicon Valley Way to Make It as a Start-Up, by Farhad Manjoo
“… to procrastinate is to mourn the precariousness of your creation even before you bring it into the world.”
Why Do Anything? A Meditation on Procrastination, by Costica Bradatan
“The single best way to maintain your reputation is to do things you’re proud of. Gaming goes only so far.”
– Seth Godin
Three things to keep in mind about your reputation
“There are two types of emailers: reactors, who rely on notifications and near-constant monitoring of their inboxes to nibble away at their email throughout the day, and batchers, who set aside specific chunks of time to power through their email, so they can ignore it the rest of the day. Not surprisingly, batchers are significantly more productive when it comes to getting shit done, and according to recent research, they’re also less stressed and more happy.”
Don’t Let Email Zombies Eat Up Your Day, by Jocelyne K. Glei
This table on Operators’ vs Visionaries’ Managerial Activities really made me think. It’s from a Canadian research paper on two kinds of entrepreneurs as leaders published in 1998 by Louis Jacques Filion, blogged by John Maeda.
“The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated.”
– Ted Hughes
Ted Hughes on the Universal Inner Child, in a Moving Letter to His Son
“My view of human nature is that all of us are just holding it together in various ways — and that’s okay, and we just need to go easy with one another, knowing that we’re all these incredibly fragile beings.”
– Alain de Botton
Alain de Botton on What Makes a Good Communicator and the Difficult Art of Listening in Intimate Relationships
Expert Market analysed GDP data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and found that of the 10 countries with the highest GDP also make the top 10 list for the shortest working hours. Go Luxembourg for taking first place!
The most productive countries in the world also have the shortest work days
“… Because, while we’re each unique, we have far more in common than we’re comfortable admitting. Amplifying our differences may make us feel special, but it’s not particularly useful when it comes to getting better.
Being unique is a great way to hide from the change we need when someone offers us a better future. Learning from the patterns and the people who have come before, though, is the only way any of us advance.”
Uniquely unique, by Seth Godin
“Look for integrity, selflessness, sacrifice, and compassion. Find those who champion justice and fidelity. But above all, seek men who emulate humility and meekness. Do not, as so many others do, be deceived into thinking it is a weakness. Meekness is strength wrapped in humility, my dear daughter. It is strength under control in a world where so many are out of control.”
A Letter to My Daughter About Young Men, by Benjamin Sledge
“It’s not about what someone can do for you, it’s who and what the two of you become in each other’s presence.”
Do Your Friends Actually Like You? Interesting article by Kate Murphy.
“When you write, everything is literature. Your grocery list. The note to your wife. The email to your mom. Your out-of-office reply. If it’s going to be read by someone, you owe it to them to make it worth their time.”
How my out-of-office reply became national news, and what we can learn from that, by Michael Herschel