I mentioned it in passing before, but would like to make it explicit:
Closing every browser tab at the end of the day has had an inordinate positive impact on performance.
Likewise, I often have 4 or 5 books open, and strive to close those, and project plans, which I also look to close.
Leaving stuff open and sitting around means you don't start the day with a blank canvas to work with. It's easy to get pulled into whatever was left lying around.
It also makes it easier to leave things that are almost complete "...to finish tomorrow." But at what rate are things finished tomorrow? ...not high enough, for many of us. Much better to finish and wrap up today, even if a little fatigued.
I was looking up Grossman's On Killing for the statistics on how many soldiers in the U.S. Civil War actually fired at the opposing side (around 90% didn't fire at the enemy at all; it's a complex and interesting book).
One of the explanations for why is that there were two "filters" a person had to go through before able to do violence --
It is as though there were two filters that we have to go through to kill. The first filter is the forebrain. A hundred things can convince your forebrain to put a gun in your hand and go to a certain point: poverty, drugs, gangs, leaders, politics, and the social learning of violence in the media — which is magnified when you are from a broken home and searching for a role model.
But traditionally all these things have slammed into the resistance that a frightened, angry human being confronts in the midbrain. And except with sociopaths (who, by definition, do not have this resistance), the vast, vast majority of circumstances are not sufficient to overcome this midbrain safety net. But if you are conditioned to overcome these midbrain inhibitions, then you are a walking time bomb, a pseudosociopath, just waiting for the random factors of social interaction and forebrain rationalization to put you in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I'm going to work to ensure that doesn't happen again. No good. Things might be shaky for the next week or two with the software, so your patience is appreciated and my apologies for technical errors.
(If you're just checking in on the blog, people who subscribed by email got very many "Test" emails come to them. Will work to rectify it. Thanks.)
I added a little tiny box to my start-of-day routine. It's been miraculous.
I pick, at the start of the day, what's acceptable to procrastinate on.
From Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman's On Killing [emphasis added] --
When people become angry, or frightened, they stop thinking with their forebrain (the mind of a human being) and start thinking with their midbrain (which is indistinguishable from the mind of an animal). They are literally “scared out of their wits.” The only thing that has any hope of influencing the midbrain is also the only thing that influences a dog: classical and operant conditioning.
That is what is used when training firefighters and airline pilots to react to emergency situations: precise replication of the stimulus that they will face (in a flame house or a flight simulator) and then extensive shaping of the desired response to that stimulus. Stimulus-response, stimulus-response, stimulus-response. In the crisis, when these individuals are scared out of their wits, they react properly and they save lives.
This is done with anyone who will face an emergency situation, from children doing a fire drill in school to pilots in a simulator. We do it because, when people are frightened, it works. We do not tell children what they should do in case of a fire, we condition them; and when they are frightened, they do the right thing.
Got a question from a reader who is ambitious and has had some successes, but feels erratic and like he's taken on too many projects that haven't borne fruit. My reply --
I recommend you take a notebook to a nice cafe with no technology and write down every major success of your life (major being however you define it).
Look for commonalities.
We often make the same mistakes over and over and our only plan is "try harder" -- instead, identify elements/features of when you've thrived...
From Alfred Thayer Mahan's 1890 Influence of Sea Power Upon History --
Mahan is encouraging the study of past types of warfare to predict the development of future types of warfare.
He distinguishes between precedent, which is how things have been done in the past, and principles, which "have their root in the essential nature of things... [and thus] remains a standard to which action must conform to attain success."
Also full of gems --
This whole pdf is full of gems:
Skim if you're in a hurry; just the illustrations and charts have a lot of value in them.