Hello, friend! I hope you’re doing well, staying safe, and comfortably settling into the new year. Mine has been off to a bumpy start, but I’m ready to start kicking up the momentum.
Last week, I had a mild illness for around a day. I was hoping it might be a mild case of Covid and the associated immunity, but both my at-home and PCR test read as negative. I finished re-reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits and am now trying to apply some of his tactics to re-spark inspiration and action in my life. I don’t know if it’s me or this pandemic, but I’m feeling burned out and struggling to get excited about much. If you have any tips or tricks, I am all ears.
I hope the coming week is good to you and that, if you’re lucky enough to be enjoying a 3-day weekend, you make the most of the extra free time.
Food for thought
“Learn from fields very different from your own. They each have ways of thinking that can be useful at surprising times. Just learning to think like an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a philosopher will beneficially stretch your mind.”David Chapman, How to Think Real Good
I’ve always been a dabbler and something of a Renaissance Man (or woman), and I do believe that inspiration lies in the overlap or disparate ideas. A mathematician that studies only math will think similar thoughts to a second mathematician that studies only math. However, when a third mathematician studies music, psychology, or history, she may notice a connection or garner an insight near before seen. If we follow our curiosity down all its miscellaneous paths, our trivial knowledge will grown and we will gradually build ourselves a fortress of ideas that blend together in a way that is uniquely our own.
“Rarely do we stop to ask ourselves questions about the media we consume: Is this good for me? Is this dense with detailed information? Is this important? Is this going to stand the test of time? Is the person writing someone who is well informed on the issue? Asking those questions makes it clear the news isn’t good for you.”Share Parriss, Farnam Street Blog, Why you should stop reading the news
Personally, my exposure to news is very limited, and I have only a few trusted sources. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that all the major media corporations–both left and right–have the exact same talking points, which suggests the idea is coming from the top down. How likely is it, otherwise, that seven different outlets would publish articles about parents of children specifically under five experiencing despair in the time of omicron, on the same day? After the Waukesha Christmas parade, why did most media outlets report that an SUV plowed into dozens of innocent people, failing to mention the driver of the vehicle? Propaganda by American entities on American soil is legal, and sensationalized headlines garner clicks.
It is important to be aware of major global events, but it is just important to step back and consider how much exposure we actually require, and well as the cost and benefit of content consumption. Critical thinking is hard and flooding our minds with frivolous and coercive articles further inhibits that skill and ability. Trust no one and question everything. That’s not a conspiracy theorist’s mantra, but rather a useful guideline for assessing the world around us critically and in a way that allows us to learn rather than be easily manipulated.
Just for fun
Were you the kid who dreamed of one day being a contestant on Jeopary!, constantly bombarded your parents with a blitzkrieg of questions about how deep the ocean is and why aliens chose to visit Roswell, and read the encyclopedia for fun? Are you still that curious, nerdy little brat, now masquerading as a semi-functional adult? If so, you’re going to love this! My good friend, Tim, recently launched a podcast: Incorrect Music Theories, and even if he weren’t my good friend, I would still be recommending this.
For starters, the host breaks down Stone Temple Pilots’ 1992 song “Creep” in an effort to find out how much of a man Scott Weiland really was after multiple halvings throughout the song, then goes on a quest to figure out if Rockapella’s theme song to the 1991-1995 game show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” gives any coded answers as to the whereabouts of the elusive thief.
It’s frickin’ brilliant. If you nerd out over the absurd, I think you’ll like it too. I don’t listen to enough podcasts to give a solid comparison, but it’s slightly reminiscent of John’s Green The Anthropocene Reviewed. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.