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Press Pause

By: Michael Blankenship |

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

– Anne Lamott

Did you know that placebo medication (i.e. sugar pills) works even if you know it’s a placebo? “You don’t need deception or concealment for many conditions to get a significant and meaningful placebo effect”, Dr. Ted J. Kaptchuk says. It makes us wonder if there’s a market for (non-janky) placebo pills that could actually help people. But also… we’re guessing that whichever entrepreneur tackles that is going to need a lot of good lawyers. 

– Mike & Alec

Press Pause

We all know what it’s like to react to something in a negative way. 

Maybe your kid colored on the walls (even though you’ve told them not to 100 times), maybe your partner did that thing (you know the thing) that irritates you to no end, or maybe it was something else; you owe on your taxes, you got fired from your job, your lover ended things. 

There are millions of different things that can irk the primitive part of our brain. 

But only if we don’t pause. 

If we take a deep breath when the thing happens, we give our brains a chance to respond instead of react. 

Here’s how Justin Prince explains it in a video

“When the event hits, you want to press pause and ask yourself, ‘How am I going to respond?’ And remember, take full ownership of this one. You can’t always take full ownership of the events of life because the events of life happen to us all. But you do get to press pause. 

[For example], when your kids do something and you just wanna snap, and then later you’re like ‘I’m sorry. That was not me being my best.’ 

Press pause. 

What will happen is your brain sends electrical currents down your spine — that’s why you react like that. If you press pause, literally even if you just take a deep breath, it’ll go all the way up to your frontal cortex where you’re more logical and you’ll handle things way better. You’ll respond to things in your life rather than react to things in your life. 

So just press pause. Take a moment to ask yourself, ‘How do I want to show up in this moment.’”

Seth’s Clues

We recently stumbled across this 23-word blog post from Seth Godin. 

It’s short. 

But it’s powerful. 

And we wanted to share it. 

Here’s the title: Clues that you might not be trying hard enough

The rest reads,

You usually succeed

You rarely feel like an imposter

You already know what you need to know

You’re confident it’s going to work

In other words… if you’re too comfortable, if things are too easy, then it might be time to step up your game and challenge yourself. 

Conversely, if you do feel like an imposter, if you’re stumbling through failures, and if you’re scared things might not work out… stay the course. 

You’re on the path toward growth. 

Rare Skills

A while back Morgan Housel, author of The Psychology of Money and former columnist at The Motley Fool and The Wall Street Journal, published an article on Collaborative Fund titled, Rare Skills

In it, she outlines three “rare and powerful skills” — these skills are useful for living a happy and well-balanced life. 

We’ve annotated them below. 

1. Understanding how people justify their beliefs in a way that makes you respect their delusions. — “A rare and useful skill is understanding that people you find to be deluded likely suffer from the same shortcomings you do… You don’t have to agree with others’ delusions or put up with their collateral damage. Just accepting that everyone wants easy and comforting answers in a complex and painful world is a rare skill.”

2. Quitting while you’re ahead, or at least before you’ve had too much. — “The temptation to exploit every drop of opportunity leads many people to push relentlessly for more, more, more. They only discover the limits of what’s possible when they’ve gone too far, when the momentum of decline is often unstoppable… there’s value in saying, ‘I could have more and do more, but this is good enough’… But it’s such a rare skill. People don’t like leaving opportunities on the table, and it’s counterintuitive to realize that you’ll likely end up with more than those whose appetite for more is insatiable.”

3. Getting to the point. — “Perhaps the most critical communication skill. Be brief. Use as few words as possible to say what you need, and everyone will appreciate it… Poor communicators ramble. Good communicators leave out unnecessary details. Great communicators treat words as the scarcest commodity.”

This Week’s Image

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

What does man love more than life, hate more than death or mortal strife; that which contented men desire; the poor have, the rich require; the miser spends, the spendthrift saves, and all men carry to their graves?

This Week’s Journaling Prompt

Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt. 

Where, for you, does the balance lie between striving for more and accepting/enjoying things as they are now? 

This Week’s Challenge

Pause more often. Don’t react to things… respond. This week you’ll have plenty of opportunities to prove your character. Take a deep breath, pause, and choose how you’d like to respond. You always have the power to pause. 

Riddle Answer: nothing.

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