Being where you are

I make it a habit to check in and confirm that I’m truly present wherever I am.  That means I’m not on the phone when I’m with family and friends.  It also means I AM focused on my phone when I’m having a text or email conversation.  Intentional behavior is not a distraction.

One thing that helps me accomplish this is to ensure that I’ve accomplished enough during focused work/email/chores time, that these things aren’t like apps running on my brain when my brain should be “here”.

The goal is to follow the obvious but challenging advice: wherever you are, be there.

The case against abundance

In the old days a small amount of sugar, a bit of gossip, and some entertainment improved well-being.  But modern diseases are diseases of abundance.  Too much sugar.  Too much gossip.  Too much politicizing nuanced issues to the point of outrage.  Too many entertainment options leading to FOMO, decision-fatigue, and filter failure.

There is such thing as too much of even good things, including water (it’s called drowning).

“Filter mastery” is a modern superpower – deliberately filtering out the majority of sensory inputs that feel beneficial but are actually putting us at dis-ease.

Simple rules

To deter myself from staying up late scrolling through social media or going down a YouTube rabbit hole, I remember the rule: “don’t stay up late for something you wouldn’t get up early for.”

I enjoy the occasional cheat meal, but my rule is: if I “shouldn’t” eat it it’s not coming in my house.  When I found myself hitting snooze too many times, I started placing my alarm clock steps away from the bed.

Self-control is over-rated.  Simple rules you create (and follow) are more reliable ways to change habits.

What could have been

That thing you almost did that would have harmed your career…that horrendous car accident you barely avoided…it sounds counter-intuitive and depressing to spend moments contemplating these near tragedies.

But one effective way to amplify gratitude even faster than being thankful for what we do have or did achieve, is considering how fortunate we are for what DIDN’T happen that could have disrupted or even ended our lives.

The fact that you are now alive to tell even one such story is worthy of gratitude.


The equality farce

Treating people as equals and creating equal opportunity despite gender, race, etc. is an admirable version of equality.  But that’s as far as it goes.

Treating all projects, endeavors, and hours of the day with equal importance is a flaw that un-successful, overwhelmed, stressed-out people share. Those who have achieved mastery, fulfillment and are in control of their lives distinguish and prioritize the critical, few, most significant things, from the trivial and unlimited choices for allocating their time and attention.

Focus on what’s most meaningful and significant, and give that the UNEQUAL attention it deserves.

Return on Knowledge

I once heard a business owner tell a consultant that he preferred not to offer training to his employees. “What if I train them and then they leave?!” he said.  I never forgot the consultant’s reply: “Worse still…what if you don’t train them and they stay?”

What a great perspective on investing in sharpening skills for ourselves and others.  Investing in people seldom creates anything other than goodwill, gratitude, and (go figure) upgraded skills.

Hanlon’s razor

Hanlon’s razor asserts that we should not attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence or other means.

Most conspiracy theories are implausible, and turn out not to be an effective cover-up by an elaborate network of mustache-twirling psychopaths bent on world domination.  Most people who cut in line or are rude and offensive are not malicious and singling you out.  Neglect, self-absorption, and misunderstanding are more likely culprits.

Of course malevolent and cruel people exist, but Hanlon’s razor reminds us not to take things personally.  It’s almost never personal anyways.