Thanks, Captain Obvious

Recent conversations that I have had with my friends Ruby and Quinn (in which the phrase #tootrue was used and abused) inspired me to list out some ideas that we surely should find obvious but all too often ignore.

On control

If you could control everything, you would have done it already. We’re all doing the best with the time and energy that we have, today.

Unsuccessfully trying to control all parts of your life is a bit like playing Tetris– your accomplishments and the satisfaction that you gain from achieving them line up really nicely for a few seconds, before the row disappears and the next stress-inducing block of your life begins its slow and inevitable descent.

It’s coming up on a year since I wrote about my strained relationship with a calendar app and expressed my struggle to follow a perfectly regimented schedule. It’s really easy to make plans and set a schedule when you feel like you have the energy for it at the beginning of the week.

At the end of a workday, try and focus on how far you’ve come rather than how much further you have to go to meet your ideal schedule”.

On self-perception

Fears (to an extent) are a rational.

Ruby and I talked about how most of us live in a culture where risk aversion has become frowned upon, but not everyone has the privilage of moving past their fears to express themselves authentically or to make changes in their life.

There’s obviously room for interpretation, but the face your fears, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and just do it” transformations promoted by stories with strong survivorship bias have certainly made me feel that the incremental gains I can accomplish in my day-to-day life matter less.

Ultimately, our fears are absolutely founded and risk aversion does have unfavorable consequences. The mindset with which you approach facing your fears” matters much more than the outcome.

When you embrace discomfort, it’s not that you’re not afraid”. It’s that you’re doing something in spite of being afraid”.

On the world around you

Everything that you do is years in the making.

I didn’t quite realize this until I started pledging a business fraternity, but all of the anecdotes I told in the interview round or bullets I listed on my resumé were parts of my life that took years to develop. My leadership positions in organizations came years after joining them. My first job came after years of demonstrated responsibility in organizations that I had been in for years. My personal tastes in music or furniture have developed after processing a decade of inputs.

The results you get based on seemingly inconsequential choices give you a temporary glance into the black box of delayed gratification. Choose to live your life in a way that gives you as many chances to look into the box.

Some bonus insights

  • Clutter is costly.
  • Out of sight, out of mind.
  • The most difficult person to convince of a new identity is yourself.

Until next week,


p.s. um, excuse me. nevermind

May 8, 2022