Web Miscellany: Compilation #100

Hello, friend! After a two-month hiatus, I’m back with my mashup of delightful and thought-provoking findings. There was a lot of self-imposed pressure to make #100 extra-special, but instead I think I’m going to switch things up as we move into the new year. No one, myself included, wants to sift through a dozen links. The plan is that each week, I share a brief state of affairs along with a solid quote, an actionable idea that could improve your life, and something fun.

2021 was an interesting year, filling with many firsts. I attended funerals and weddings via live-stream, celebrated holidays home alone, and started a job in which I’ve never met my colleagues face-to-face. I missed out on sharing my niece’s first year of life, seeing friends and family, traveling, and volunteering in the community. It was a sad year in many respects, but it was also a beneficial opportunity for rest and reflection. Here we are in 2022. The heaviness of 2021 lingers, but it appears hope may be just emerging over the horizon.

I hope that the year to come is good to you and your loved ones!

Food for thought

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

Elinor Smith

So often, we see a celebrated actor, politician, or artist in the media and can’t help my envy their blind luck, social connected, or privileged upbringing. If only I had been granted the same opportunities, I might be wealthy and famous. The truth is, the majority of those with any level of power or influence had to devise a plan, commit to a daily habit, and believe in their potential to achieve that dream. Success is not always pretty. The path is paved with sweat, blood, and bouts of frustration and depression. The key is to keep showing up. Go out and make things happen. Take the first step, and then the next.

Something actionable

“In Wang’s most recent analysis, he found that artists and scientists tend to experiment with diverse styles or topics before their hot streak begins. This period of exploration is followed by a period of creatively productive focus. ‘Our data shows that people ought to explore a bunch of things at work, deliberate about the best fit for their skills, and then exploit what they’ve learned,’ Wang said. This precise sequence—exploration, followed by exploitation—was the single best predictor of the onset of a hot streak.”

So, you claim that don’t know what you’re good at or what interests you? Follow the lead of successful innovators and explore everything that crosses your path. There are nearly 8 billion people in the world and ten times that many unique ideas. There is no way to know which of those ideas most resonate with you, so open your mind to all the possibilities. As you explore, take mental note of which topics and tasks most closely align with your skills and values, and then focus all of your attention intensely on that area. Hopefully, your own hot streak will soon follow.

Just for fun

Polar bear jail is a special building in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada where polar bears that are considered troublesome or dangerous are isolated before they can be relocated. The premise is that extended captivity would create a sense of danger for the bears so that they will be reluctant to approach the town.

Humans have imposed on the natural habits of wildlife for generations, so it makes sense that there would be some competition for resources. However, I had never considered how one might manage a beast as large and aggressive as a polar bear, ensuring the welfare of both the local people and bears. Polar bear jail sound humorous at first read, but it seems a unique and thoughtful solution for a very niche problem.

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