Issue № 46

What came before

I have several projects where there’s no end-game. (I’d argue all of my passion projects have no end-game.) The process of doing the creative work is the entire point. Do the thing, because doing the thing is some combination of “I enjoy it”, “I can rationalize the necessary parts I don’t enjoy” and “it’s making the world a better place.”

So you start. You do these trivial first actions, because they’re so stupidly easy, and then you’re working on the task. You’re inside the compound. You’re no longer trying to “get started.” Most of the resistance is gone, it’s clear enough what to do next, and it feels good to continue.

~ David Cain from,

Rest. Reflect. Recalibrate. …was a wonder-filled takeaway from Trust Yourself by Melody Wilding. There was a little diagram of those three in a circle: Rest pointing to Reflect pointing to Recalibrate pointing to Rest. I am forever and ever imagining my projects as some sort of steady-state of affairs. Start the thing and then “just” do the thing. Forever. Forever? No. “What came before?” is, for me, the wrong question. How am I honestly feeling about whatever-it-is right now? That’s right. That just is. That’s how I am today. Okay, what comes next? Do I need to rest, reflect, or recalibrate?


You are under no obligation to remain the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago. You are here to create yourself, continuously.

~ Richard Feynman

Make a point

I write because it requires me to think. There’s no particular reason why I need to publish what I write. Having targets for what to write, and on what schedule to publish it, simply keeps me accountable. I am certainly better off for having done the writing and the thinking.

Make your point, make it clear, and get out of the reader’s way.

~ Morgan Housel from,

By reading what others have written, I’ve found myself standing on the shoulders of giants.


A step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.

~ Kurt Vonnegut

Time for bed

The sensations of physiological sleep-pressure are deeply unsettling. To begin to lose the ability to control one’s body… To begin to lose consciousness… To begin to lose stretches of time…

Lately I’ve been trying to pay attention to the tiniest hints of sleep pressure. The other evening I had a thing to do… and I was struggling. I wanted to do the thing, but I was unable to do it. As soon as I realized I was struggling with sleep pressure_I was off to nap knowing sleep pressure is not a thing I can avoid, only post-pone. Better to sleep _now then to continue wasting my time struggling.

The idea that getting adequate sleep is a crucial ingredient for good health – as crucial as good nourishment – is one that many societies have been slow to embrace. The pressures and pace of modern lifestyles certainly don’t encourage healthy sleep practices, whether it’s from the pressures of work or the ubiquitous increase of anxiety-induced insomnia.

~ Van Savage and Geoffrey West from,

Yikes. I think I’ve gotten anxiety-induced insomnia just reading that. So on the off-chance you’ve not yet realized that sleep is—literally, without exaggeration—the most important thing in your life, I’ll just say: Sleep you should, and perchance to dream.


History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Master of none

The idea of a changeable-bits, screw driver is brilliant. There were dozens of different screw-driving tools that varied only in the shape of their pointy end; their handles and other properties were identical. This was the perfect opportunity to create one tool to perform many functions.

You might wonder whether life is really simpler this way. Wouldn’t it be far more convenient to use a single device to accomplish all of these tasks?

Technically, yes. Psychologically, no.

While there’s an undeniable ease-of-use factor to housing a phone, internet browser, entertainment center, camera, and GPS in a lightweight rectangle that fits inside my pocket, the proximity of each of these tasks to one another leads, inevitably, to constant distraction. If you’ve ever tried to find the perfect angle for a photo while your Instagram post is blowing up, or answer a work email while your mom is calling you, you know what I mean.

~ Talia Barnes from,

I agree with Barnes, and her point about proximity is one I’d not seen clearly expressed. And there’s a more obvious argument for digital minimalism: It actually works.

The multi-bit screw driver works exactly as well as the dozens of tools it replaces. But my “smart” phone is a less capable phone, a less capable camera, a less capable correspondence tool, etc. Yes, clearly, it’s more convenient. But “the best camera is the one you have with you” is only true if your definition of “best” is: I captured the photo. “The jack of all trades is master of none.” holds true. If instead your definition of “best” is: I did the thing well. Well, then, you need the right tool. And the right tools—the right technology, is calm technology.

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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