The Meaningful Mail #18

7 Bullets to Make You Better

Happy Sunday,

it’s me Waldi!

I visited the concentration camp in Dachau this week. The visit left a mark on me. A book or a movie about the atrocities in Nazi-Germany is one thing. Visiting a place where they happened is another.

On a brighter note, I also used the travel time to be productive. While my productivity system is still a work in progress, it’s getting more fleshed out every week. This week I added Memex for note-taking of articles and pdfs to the mix and continued to enjoy Airr as my new podcast player of choice. I’ve read many interesting articles and listened to Part 2 of the Maps of Meaning lecture by Jordan B. Peterson.

I’ve also published a new blog post about How to Overcome Your Nagging Sense of Incompleteness. Give it a read, it will be insightful.

Lastly, I took a long ~3-hour walk today. These Sunday-morning walks are great. Not many people are out and about and you see nature and city coming alive. Try it next Sunday!

Now, let’s have a look at today’s bullets!


1. Ryan Holiday’s New Article About Character

In “This Thing Predicts Eveything” Ryan Holiday writes about how our character-traits predict our actions and thus our destiny.

“The good news is we also have the ability to determine our own character—to address our traits and change them—and therefore chart the course of our destiny.”

Read it here.


2. Mark Manson on Negative Self-Help

Positive self-help often relies on making you feel good. But life isn’t all about feeling good. In fact, it’s inevitable that we will suffer in the future. Instead of the positive self-help approach of many, Mark Manson describes an approach he calls “Negative Self-Help”. It’s a great read.

“I’m christening this new approach, ‘Negative Self-Help,’ an approach to personal growth based not on what feels good, but rather on what feels bad. Because getting good at feeling bad is what allows us to feel good.”

Read it in full.


3. Austin Kleon on Solitude

Solitude, especially with the current pandemic going on, has been interpreted as physical insolation most of the time. Yet, it can also be interpreted as mental solitude free of input from others.

It’s a great read, to gain a fresh perspective on solitude.

“Many people mistakenly associate [solitude] with physical separation—requiring, perhaps, that you hike to a remote cabin miles from another human being. This flawed definition introduces a standard of isolation that can be impractical for most to satisfy on any sort of regular basis. As Kethledge and Erwin explain, however, solitude is about what’s happening in your brain, not the environment around you. Accordingly, they define it to be a subjective state in which your mind is free from input from other minds.”

Read it here.


4. Ryan Buell on Operation Transparency

The more customers see what goes on behind the scenes of a business, the more they value what the business provides. This can be extended to our individual lives as well. It’s a read that get’s you thinking.

“… we learned that when customers saw the chefs cooking their food, they perceived that more effort went into serving them, they appreciated the effort, and they valued the service more. When the chefs could see their customers—the people who were benefiting from their efforts—the work they were doing seemed more appreciated and impactful, making them more satisfied with their jobs and more willing to exert effort. It was a virtuous cycle.”

Read it here.


5. James Clear on Ultimate Motivation

“The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity. It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this.”

Source: James Clear in Atomic Habits p. 33.


6. James Allen on Fighting Against Circumstances

“In the light of this truth, what, then, is the meaning of ‘fighting against circumstances?” It means that a man is continually revolting against an effect without, while all the time he is nourishing and preserving its cause in his heart.”

Source: James Allen in As A Man Thinketh p. 15.


7. Jordan Peterson on Thinking of Yourself as Good

“It's really easy to think of yourself as good because you're not doing anything nasty to anyone.

But, a cynic might say: ‘Well, that's just because you don't have any reason to.’ But those reasons have arisen many times in the past. In fact, they're the norm, not the exception.

We're the exception. This insanely functional society that we've somehow managed to generate - it’s incomprehensible to me.”

Source: Jordan B. Peterson in Maps of Meaning 2017 min. 32:41.


That’s it for this week! I hope you found something valuable.

Until next week!

- Waldi

PS: Life is a single-player game.


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