Shopping

There’s never a reason to go into a store blind. If you don’t have a plan, you’re at the mercy of the shopkeepers who know you and your preferences better than you do.

If you go to a grocery store and don’t know what you’re going to buy, you’ll buy too much.

If you go to a clothing store without a budget, you’ll spend more than you would have thought beforehand.

If you online shop for nothing in particular, you’ll end up buying something completely unexpected.

None of these things are inherently bad or mistaken. It’s just a question of whether you would do it again if you could go back in time.

Zoom Inclusion

If there are over five people on a Zoom call, there should be rules of engagement.

It’s good to direct questions to specific people, not the group as a whole.

Silence over Zoom is a sign that people don’t know whether they are free to speak.

Having structured conversations work better than free discussions.

Pulling You Aside

I always thought people would just pull me aside, and tell me that I was special, capable, or a somebody. But that rarely, if ever, happens.

If you want guidance or support from others, you must be proactive and seek others out yourself.

And because not all of us will learn this lesson, be the person who pulls other people aside. It’s a rare and powerful thing to uplift another person. So do it wisely and often.

Be Wary Of Co-opting

When we think we are sticking it to the man, are we also being used by another authority?

Are we the queen attacking the checkboard for our cause, or are we pawns in another person’s game?

Approximations

IM chats, text messages, podcasts. These approximate human connection. But because they aren’t the real thing, I should be wary of overuse and dependency.

Silence and solitude feel worse at the beginning, but there is some peace on the other side. Equanimity comes from accepting that approximations are not perfect substitutes for human connection. Welcoming discomfort makes these approximations more special and real.

Opportunities To Reset

Moving to a new city,

Buying a home,

Going on a retreat,

Quitting your job,

Starting a job,

Meeting new friends,

Cutting ties with friends,

Getting a dog,

Journaling about future plans,

Rearranging your furniture,

Changing your morning routine,

Going for a run,

Spending a Saturday in nature,

New Year’s Day,

The first day of the month,

Mondays,

After a few deep breaths,

Opportunities to reset come in moments rare and customary.

The Fingerprint Test

As we get older, we accumulate more things than we need. To make room for the important, it’s good to part with items that go unused and untouched. To help us decide, we should use the fingerprint test.

What items do we touch the most? These items get to stay.

If our fingerprints haven’t touched something, why? Are we not respecting something we value, or it its value, in practice, less than we believed? Add more fingerprints or let go.

Tears

Fighting back tears means it’s time to let them fall. Our bodies can only hold so much.

The release is painful, but the relief is serenity.

Asking Questions

Asking more questions than the person you are talking to is always advantageous.

Every person in the world is smarter than you at something. Finding what that something is will humble you and help you connect with others.

Passive To Active

Relabeling the things we do from passive obligations to active choices can give us strength for the future.

Passive: “I can’t believe I spent an hour reading the news this morning when I only wanted to spend five minutes.”

Active: “I chose to spend an hour reading the news this morning.”

Passive: “My screen time is high but all these things popped up so I don’t think that’s a clear indication of my phone dependency.”

Active: “Times are hard. I chose to spend a lot of time on my phone.”

Passive: “This movie went too long, and there’s much work I have to do.”

Active: “Of all the things I could be doing, I’m choosing to watch this movie right now.”

Resisting bad decisions we’ve already made is futile. Reframing them as choices we made can empower us to make better decisions in the future.