“You shouldn’t give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don’t care at all.”
Greetings from LA and Hawaii.
This week we interviewed a serial entrepreneur, read a book about death, learned about decision making in the modern office, and retweeted a moon lander lead engineer’s content. Our challenge is for you to go on a date with yourself.
Advice From a Serial Entrepreneur
When we asked him about the internal beliefs that he thinks has fueled his success, he said,
“I have two beliefs. One is that nothing is impossible – nothing. I can do absolutely anything I set my mind to given enough time.
The other is that I trust myself completely. No matter what happens to me, I will be ok because I always have my own back. Even if I become homeless and broke, I can build myself back up.
This level of trust and self-confidence comes from faith that the universe has my back and from failing a fucking lot and always getting back up and trying again. I failed 6 businesses before finding one that worked.”
We followed up with this question: What would you say to someone who doesn’t trust themselves?
“To someone without self-confidence, my advice is to start doing things outside of your comfort zone. Commit to always sticking to your word. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. It’s as simple as that. This will have ripple effects across your life – you’ll carry yourself differently and be more comfortable in nearly any situation.
One of the worst things you can do is say you’re going to do something, either for yourself or someone else, then not do it for whatever reason. This will destroy your self-confidence (i.e. self-trust).
Start with simple commitments and small comfort zone stretches. Travel somewhere new, do something for someone, commit to something small like a workout or eating something or cleaning or whatever, then make sure you do it. And keep doing these things.”
If you want more advice from Bill, here are a few of his articles to check out…
When Breath Becomes Air
We just finished the #1 New York Times Bestseller and Pulitzer Price finalist, When Breath Becomes Air.
Its author, Paul Kalinithi, a neurosurgeon, wrote it in the 22 months between when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and the day of his death. His wife wrote the epilogue.
Kalinithi discusses (through his words AND his example) the meaning of life and death as well as how a person can die with integrity. Seneca believed that learning to die well should be a fundamental part of a person’s life. And Kalinthi’s words are insightful and inspiring. In the same way that watching people achieve great things expands a person’s sense of possibility, “watching” Kalinthi’s death makes dying with integrity, something that often seems impossible, feel achievable.
Death is the end, but it need not be a bad ending.
“I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”
Well Done, Ben Cichy
We love this February 19th tweet from Ben Cichy in regards to the recent landing on Mars…
The Modern Office = Bad Decisions
FS published an article titled, Your Environment Shapes Your Decisions. In it, the author makes a persuasive argument that a person’s environment — distractions and deadline pressure, for instance — has a direct impact on that person’s ability to make good decisions. Then they claim, “You can’t design a worse environment for good decisions than the modern office.”
They continue, “The cultural environment is typically about politics and signaling, not about putting people in a position to succeed. The physical environment is about busyness and distraction, not focus and thinking. Neither of these environments line up with the good decision making.”
That’s at least partly true.
A 2017 study by Lisa Schwartz and Lucas Cuadros at Wingate University required half the participants to fill out a questionnaire in a “stressful” room and the other half to do so in a “relaxed” room. The results indicated that “relaxed environments are better for generating intuitive or creative decisions and stressful environments are better for producing rational decisions.”
So if the worker is making rational decisions all day long (accountants or financial planners, for instance), perhaps a little bit of stress isn’t such a bad thing. However, workers who need to exercise their creativity (writers, designers, developers, etc) might be better off in a relaxed environment with very few distractions.
The author of the FS article recommends the following steps to optimize your environment…
- Structure your day to maximize your productivity.
- Block chunks of time for specific tasks and be conscious when interrupting others.
- Remove unnecessary distractions from your workspace.
Some Extra Stuff
Here’s some other content we enjoyed this week…
Why Mental Self-Awareness Is Good for Your Brain by The Nuance
For a bit of fun, These stock images show what parenting’s really like (NOT!) by Today’s Parent
The Weekly Challenge
When is the last time you had some alone time? Life can get busy — work, kids, spouse, house — and it’s easy to neglect our own wellbeing. But a little bit of alone time can improve your mood and renew your energy (even just a couple of hours). So this week, schedule some time to be alone and do something that you really enjoy, whether that’s reading a book, getting a massage, or going for a hike. After all, we go on dates with the people we love most… so why not go on “dates” with ourselves?
Until next week!
Mike & Alec