Behold — scratchbooks.
I've started intentionally buying lower quality notebooks with an intention to scribble on them, make it imperfect, and rip the sheets out of them once once complete.
Compare that to the very fine drawing paper in the bottom right corner of the photo. If I have an important document I want to endure, I'll copy into that, and put the sheet into my sheaf of project plans in that yellow folder.
But, scratchbooks? These are intentionally meant not to be enduring, and defining that upfront is creatively liberating. Knowing that the sheets will be ripped to shreds in the end, I move faster, don't watch my handwriting, don't obsess over details, write stupid stuff, and — perhaps not coincidentally — I'm more creative in them.
A set of comments by Michael Hopkins on the Maximizers post —
That intrigued, so I asked if there were any interesting takeaways. Michael wrote —
Useful and insightful. I love the phrasing of "One Rule" — it really is like that, eh? Grateful to have such smart readers.
Last week, we discussed the "The Canary in the Coal Mine" case:
There's basically three times people get off track with their routines, habit, and how they run their life: when unusual events or extenuating circumstances happen, when things are going badly, or — most counterintuitively — when things are going well.
From Peter Drucker's Innovation and Entrepreneurship (emphasis added by me) —
“The Russian economist Nikolai Kondratieff was executed on Stalin’s orders in the mid-1930s because his econometric model predicted, accurately as it turned out, that collectivization of Russian agriculture would lead to a sharp decline in farm production. The “fifty-year Kondratieff cycle” was based on the inherent dynamics of technology. Every fifty years, so Kondratieff asserted, a long technological wave crests. For the last twenty years of this cycle, the growth industries of the last technological advance seem to be doing exceptionally well. But what look like record profits are actually repayments of capital which is no longer needed in industries that have ceased to grow. This situation never lasts longer than twenty years, then there is a sudden crisis, usually signaled by some sort of panic. There follow twenty years of stagnation, during which the new, emerging technologies cannot generate enough jobs to make the economy itself grow again — and no one, least of all government, can much about this.
“The industries that fueled the long economic expansion after World War II — automobiles, steel, rubber, electric apparatus, consumer electronics, telephone, but also petroleum — perfectly fit with the Kondratieff cycle. Technologically, all of them go back to the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century or, at the very latest, to before World War I. In none of them has a significant breakthrough been made since the 1920s, whether in technology or business concepts. When the economic activity began after World War II, they were all thoroughly mature industries. They could expand and create jobs with relatively little new capital investment, which explains why they could pay skyrocketing wages and workers’ benefits and simultaneously show record profits.”
Of course, the Kondratieff industry cycles don't apply to every industry and are hardly proven.
The key takeaway is that industries which no longer need additional capital to scale can see increasing profits simultaneously with increasing variable costs, but the increasing profits are a short-term phenomenon.
History is complicated.
I thought had a fairly clear understanding of the history of modern Turkey. It's an incredibly impressive country that has had remarkable achievements since winning the Turkish War of Independence.
Originally slated to get the same treatment (or slightly worse) as Imperial Germany got in the Treaty of Versailles, a national movement against occupation and control rose up in Ankara in the aftermath of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Led by a one of the 20th century's top commander-statesmen, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it became one of the most stable and prosperous republics in the Middle East.
I was ready to write a piece on the area and was double checking some of the recent history, economics, and finance here before writing a piece of history.
And then, I start realizing just how much more complicated this area is than I'd thought.
I was doing some reading on the Papal States, the Schism, and various diplomacy and history of the Catholic Church. It's all very interesting, there's many lessons in there, and strangely enough, I see a lot less knowledge and enthusiasm among the people I know of this era of history, despite how rich it is in interesting lessons.
Anyways. In the course of meandering through Catholic history and institutions, I came across this section from James 2:14-18 and thought it was worth sharing:
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Stupid error I'm gradually slowly getting rid of making --
1. Go to the market or grocery store.
2. See that vegetables or meat or whatever costs 50% or even 100% more than it theoretically should cost. (EX: $4 for a big can of vegetables.)
3. Don't buy the food.
4. The next day, run out of food at home.
Some very good feedback and comments from last week on Continual Readjustment — thanks for that, it's very good to see how the work here is actually being read, interpreted and used. Please do keep the good comments coming, especially about how you're putting things into practice.
The first thing you'll note this week is that the Continual Readjustment thing worked just fine; the weakest link of Declare/Complete being at 0 moved to 3 this week, which was good enough to get going.
Now, let's talk about another usage of this type of control:
The Canary in the Coal Mine
The term arrival fallacy is useful —
Happiness Myth No. 8: You’ll Be Happy As Soon As You…
We often imagine that we’ll be happy as soon as we get a job/make partner/get tenure/get married/get that promotion/have a baby/move. As a writer, I often find myself imagining some happy future: “Once I sell this proposal…” or “Once this book comes out…”
In his book Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar calls this the “arrival fallacy,” the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you’ll be happy.
I got this from Kai, who is one of the more effective people I know.
I noticed over our interactions, he'd occasionally make a reference to "closing tabs."
The fifth or so time I heard it, my ears perked up. Hey, Kai, what do you mean...?
"I don't like having lots of tabs open on my browser. I try to close them all as quickly as I can."
Huh. I press for more details. He also almost always closes every tab by the end of the day.