Life's Defaults

Patrick Rhone shared a great story On Accepting Defaults:

The truth is, this is not just about our living spaces but the many, many, areas of life where we simply accept the defaults we’re given. There are many things we do just because that’s the way they’re done or that’s what others expect or that’s what they called this. We never stop to question and decide if this fits us and how we live.

I love this.

I believe this is the key to making big changes in your life and it's not just for society's norms, it can be applied to your own operating system and the defaults given to you as you grow up. Along the way you collect baggage (not only your own, but family history, societal, etc) and ways of operating that may seem normal and not problematic -- but in many ways they can hold you back. Unfortunately, it's usually an unexpected crisis that alerts you to these problems. The key to growing as a person, in my experience, is taking those defaults and throwing them out. Build the life you want, not the life you have been taught.

Vulnerability and Enough


n. Susceptibility to attack or injury; the state or condition of being weak or poorly defended.

n. a specific weakness in the protections or defenses surrounding someone or something.

There is no better expert on vulnerability than Brene Brown. Her TED talk on the subject has been viewed over 22 million times. I highly recommend spending 20 minutes to view it, if you haven’t already.

The basic gist of the talk is this: Continue reading "Vulnerability and Enough"

Girl Scouts Reject $100K Donation Because Donor Didn’t Want It To Be Used For Trans Girls →

This is amazing. What a way to stand up for you convictions:

A donor recently sent $100,000 to the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, with the condition that it not be used on trans girls. The Girl Scouts rejected the donation. (Nationally, the Girls Scouts recently made an announcement, officially welcoming transgender girls to the organization.)

They made out better anyway -- their Indiegogo campaign is now up over the $300,000 mark with 27 days left.

All three of our girls are in Girl Scouts. It's such an amazing organization for girls.

The Parent I Aspire to Be →

Taking a cue from Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits:

It’s nearly Father’s Day, and that always causes me to reflect on what kind of father I am. I think I’m pretty decent, though I’m not where I’d like to be.

Leo's list is pretty great. For me, I aspire to:

  1. Be slower to anger and frustration.
  2. Be less critical of mistakes.
  3. Be less concerned about their future and more concerned with the present moment.
  4. Inspire them to be passionate about the things they like, but have less expectations of the path they take to find and use those passions.
  5. Inspire them to be honest, courageous, empathetic, and vulnerable to experience life and relationships in the best way possible.

I have a lot to learn about each of these, but I also have four (including my wife) great teachers to help me along the way.

Permission to Let Go - The Minimalists →

Great, quotable post over at The Minimalists:

Like your stuff? Keep it!
Find value in that wardrobe teeming with unworn clothes?
That closet brimming with mismatched bath towels?
That basement abound with un-played-with toys?
That garage stuffed with collections of trinkets?
That shelf overrun by dusty DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes?
Hold tighter if you feel so inclined. Permission granted.
You have permission to keep anything that adds value to your life.
And you have permission to keep anything that doesn’t.
But you also have permission to let go.
You have permission to clear the clutter.
You have permission to remove the excess—the clothes you don’t wear, the junk you don’t use, the things you hold on to just in case—and focus on what’s truly important to you: health, relationships, passions.

Step one is selling the records I don't listen to any longer...

Annie Clark on Empathy

During her recent St. Vincent show in Rochester, Annie Clark's between-song speech featured this nice quote:

Pity is boring. Empathy is miraculous.

Essentially she said feeling pity for someone is basic and simple, whereas empathy fosters identification and understanding. This leads to positive societal change.

We need more empathy in this world.

More on Attention

Mark Manson hits the nail on the head:

Limitless access to knowledge brings limitless opportunity. But only to those who learn to manage the new currency: their attention. In the new economy, the most valuable asset you can accumulate may not be money, may not be wealth, may not even be knowledge, but rather, the ability to control your own attention, and to focus.

Because until you are able to limit your attention, until you are able to turn away, at will, from all of the shiny things and nipple slips, until you are able to consciously choose what has value to you and what does not, you and I and everyone else will continue to be served up garbage indefinitely. And it will not get better, it will get worse.

via In The Future, Our Attention Will Be Sold.

Stuck in the Bullshit Machine

Today I stumbled upon a brilliant article, The Bullshit Machine, on Medium that hits almost all of the thoughts I’ve been having on “social media” lately. The gist being that the lure of FOMO and the social nature of these sites encourage so much empty, meaningless action and output that it’s preventing us from actually living meaningful, creative, passionate lives. The stuff that makes us happy and fulfilled.
Continue reading "Stuck in the Bullshit Machine"

Attention: A Muscle to Strengthen - The Atlantic

Sood argues that most of us spend more than half of our mental energy flitting from thought to thought, from app to app; we would ultimately be more productive and resilient, less depressed, and physically healthier, if we were only more deliberate with our cognitive energy.

via Attention: A Muscle to Strengthen - The Atlantic.

Time and attention are two of your most valuable assets and we give away both without much thought over the course of the day. See my attention posts here and here for more of my thoughts on the subject.

Responding to Violence and Insanity

Susan Piver, on the natural response of anger, blame, and hatred for those who commit horrific crimes:

One could make a very powerful argument for each of these points. However, so fucking what. At this exact moment, they are all equally unhelpful and have one thing in common that makes them so: each is an effort to block pain. Each is meant to put something, anything between you and the contents of your heart at this exact moment. Blaming Islamists, guns, or politicians may be entirely reasonable and valid, but right now, it doesn’t matter.

Susan advocates for feeling before action: "Allow yourself to be absolutely, irredeemably heartbroken. Weep, sob, rage." And to send your strength, bravery, peace, and open heartedness to the victims.

via Responding to Violence and Insanity (one Buddhist’s perspective) – Susan Piver.