Learning out loud.
10207 words

Show your cards

Who do you spend the most time talking with? Yourself.

If you're anything like me, you talk with yourself about everything and everyone. You talk about your experiences, about your desires, and about your relationships.

We converse one-on-one with ourselves so often that sometimes we forget this internal dialogue is completely invisible to others, creating asymmetry between how we actually feel and how people think we feel about them. This asymmetry restricts our relationships in a big way.

Analogy time.

The players in our poker game (life) can make an educated guess about how we feel about them, based on the actions we make—but they'll never really know what we're holding onto unless we show them our cards. The cost of not showing our cards becomes obvious once we consider how awful people are at guessing.

When guessing on how people feel about us, we er on the side of negativity. We have a presumption bias that writes-off indicators of interest from others as "how they treat everybody", yet we're quick to find reasons why they might not like us. The people you care about are bad guessers too.

We stunt the quantity and quality of our relationships when we refuse to show our cards. Luckily for us, we don't spend too much time mourning the loss of an unrealized relationship that could have been sparked by asking for a phone number. The real pain hits when the relationships we did have, and the relationships we did deeply appreciate, die before we're brave enough to fully reveal our cards.

We all want to be better partners and better friends (duh!) but spend too much unnecessary mental energy in being indirect about what we want and figuring out what the other wants. via @quietonlooker

Don't rob your loved ones of compliments. Try to share more of the positive discussions you have with yourself about them, to them. Show them your cards.

Take your medicine

There are things you already know, with a high degree of certainty, that if you started consistently executing, would dramatically improve your quality of life.

These are things that would chip away at your deeply rooted insecurities and recurring life problems, gradually dragging you closer to your ideal self.

Acting on these things, these things you have long known would positively impact your life, is taking your medicine.

Take your medicine. It's going to taste awful at first, but it's easier to sleep at night knowing you're on track to a healthier life.

Don't buy things on sale

Hi. My name is Jamie and I'm addicted to sales.

Recently I've been thinking about taking a different approach: intentionally avoid sales.


If your next purchase requires a 20% discount to prove its return on investment, maybe you don’t need it that badly.

Alternative heuristic: Would I pay 50% above the retail price for this product/service? If not, the margins are too thin to justify purchasing.

"I wish I started learning when I was younger"

Wishing is a sneaky way to want something without holding yourself accountable to your own desires.

When you make statements like "I wish I started learning this when I was younger", what you’re really doing is imagining an impossible reality where it's possible to bypass the learning process.

People who possess valuable skills have earned them. They've won the battle against procrastination, avoided the temptation to pursue alternative options, and showed up to honor the process on days they didn't want to be there.

It's the process, which consumes effort in exchange for tiny slivers of progress, day-after-day, month-after-month, and year-after-year that incrementally amounts to meaningful expertise.

The amateur wishes they possessed valuable things. The professional knows they need to graduate from wishing to progressing if they are to truly achieve something.

Mass curation is not curation

Ultra-super-mega round-up blog posts, the ones that list "the best 250 resources for X", are near useless.

Mass curation is not valuable curation.

The quality of recommendations are dependent on two things:

  1. The person making the recommendation must be able to separate good from bad, and ideally, great from good.
  2. Accompanying context is provided to explain what separates the recommendation from its alternatives.

Heuristic: Ask an expert in any field for a recommendation and they will give you a handful of options to choose from. A handful. Sometimes it's a big handful, but it will never be as much as 25/50/100+ options.

Mass curation is not curation. 

Place better bets

You're gambling whether you know it or not.

  • When you send an edgy text message

  • When you board a plane

  • When you apply for a new job

  • When you start reading a new book

  • When you make a purchase

Before your body makes a move, your mind has already subconsciously placed a bet on your next action returning a reward greater than the cost it takes to make it.

No decision is exempt from gambling as no action comes without a cost. There is no such thing as "free". There is always a cost of choosing one path over another.

Want to place better bets?

Make asymmetrical bets, where the potential upside is much greater than the potential downside. When in doubt, limit your downside such that being wrong stings but doesn't cripple you in any way.

Creating content on the internet is an asymmetrical bet. Content is cheap to produce, yet it can lead to big payoffs: new jobs, new friends, and/or refined thinking.

If you lose your bet on creating content, you lose the hours you invested. If you lose your bet running a red light, you lose your life.

Improve your life by becoming a better gambler.

Do you believe in magic?

I catch myself believing in magic sometimes.

There are many ways to get things done. On one end of the spectrum there are unsexy fundamentals. Do enough unsexy fundamentals and you will get results. Everybody knows this.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is magic. Magic supposedly works, according to the witches and wizards who have supposedly used it, but it is unreliable and rarely re-created.

The 80/20 solution is found somewhere between unsexy fundamentals and magic, but it's easy to wander off and get lost while looking for it.

Guarantee results by practicing unsexy fundamentals.

Look for 80/20 solutions where they exist, but don't wander too far.

Stay away from magic.

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This is the first post of my active notebook. Here you'll find my unpolished thoughts not yet ready to be molded into a blog post.

This site will follow the basic format of a digital garden, a concept I first discovered through Anne-Laure Le Cunff.

I will try to make it a little less ugly soon.