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What I learned this week

Meditating is a good idea.

Somewhere on Reddit:

Meditation is like clearing the cache inside our brains”.

I don’t have a daily meditation practice (yet) but it’s something that is constantly recurring in Digital Minimalism, and that I’ve seen pop up a lot as of late. I’m making excuses as to why I haven’t started, including but not limited to I don’t know how,” or I don’t know when I should do it”. That’s bullshit, and I need to start somewhere. I can always learn more and enhance the experience, but you can’t optimize for something that doesn’t exist. This ties into something that Cal Newport writes in Digital Minimalism, and that I wrote in this post, but the ability for me to banish boredom and eliminate solitude in my life doesn’t allow me to give myself the time to process the day’s events, let alone form coherent connections between things that I’ve learned throughout the day. All this to say that a daily meditation practice will enable me to sit down and grapple with my own thoughts, to achieve a level of introspection that a lot of people don’t even allow themselves to have.

Run my life like a business. Paraphrased from Paul Jarvis’ Company of One:

Once we enter positions of power, we begin to neglect and lose the skills and virtues that got us there to begin with”.

Clarity comes when you decide what enough is and act ruthlessly to defend it”.

Reading through the Company of one has been a great experience. Even though the book is explicitly written about well known and successful business operations, the messaging that is embedded is more about the benefits of keeping things small, quality driven, and meaningful, rather than focused purely on outcomes. I’ve been reading the book while imagining myself as the company of one,” and the lifestyle I live the way that company operates. Obviously some of the advice doesn’t translate over perfectly, but it’s a read that I’ve been enjoying thus far and am looking forward to finishing.

Goals aren’t what they’re cut out to be. James Clear on the Rich Roll Podcast:

Goals are necessary, but not sufficient”.

You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your habits.”

This was a great listen, and matches up incredibly well with the contents of Atomic Habits, James’ bestselling book. If you’re not super into sitting down with a book for a few hours, listening to this particular episode will give you the framework for building good habits and breaking bad ones (although hard-lining what a good” and bad” habit is can prevent you from developing the behaviors you want– I learned this from the podcast). There’s a specific point that Clear makes about goals in both the podcast and the book that I resonate with every time that I hear it. Goals are good for establishing a North Star, a philosophy, fundamental values. Problem is, people are too fixated on results (as our society becomes increasingly fixated on outcomes and instant gratification) to design their life in a meaningful way that is conducive to achieving said results. Another thing that Clear recognizes is that both winners and losers (in a job interview, in sports, etc) have the same goal– meaning that it’s impossible that the goal is the thing that differentiates the two. I think goals are good, but a lifestyle is better. I’m continuing to process the ideas from this segment so I don’t have a great way to explain this yet. I’ll circle back when I can give a genuinely nuanced explanation of why goals aren’t sufficient leverage for behavior change.

Parting Thoughts

The theme for this week’s learnings is the mantra: less is more. Less mindless consumption leads to more time for introspection and clarity. Reducing the scale at which a business operation runs likely increases quality of the product and the revenue generated by it. Shifting focus away from lofty goals and more towards meaningful systems creates sustainable habits and behaviors, instead of arbitrary landmarks that you burn out trying to reach. See you next week.


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