If you’re like me, when you’re researching things online, you’ll often realize that you’ve just ingested extremely biased information. Unfortunately, there is no instant antidote for incorrect information, usually since you don’t know if it’s poison or not. I’ve read articles about life insurance, about how I can ensure my family’s safety in the event of my death & dismemberment for only $18 a month, only to reach the end and realize it was written by one of those Northwestern Mutual fellows who send me LinkedIn messages about whole term life nonsense. That’s like drinking a bottle of something and then seeing the skull-and-bones on the warning label. How much of what I just read was true, and how much was false?… 

The precedence of comfort

In the absence of critical analysis, comfort takes precedence over anything else. Without a long-term approach, without delaying gratification in the now for better results in the future, humanity always defaults towards comfort. Comfort can mean different things, but the tangible basics are the same. At some level, it involves basic human needs, but it doesn’t stop there. It starts with the necessities of survival like food and shelter, and it spans a massive spectrum of needs and wants until it ends with things like feeling important or being special. There isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with comfort. I’d argue that a huge part of a productive, practical life is forging towards new levels of comfort for you and your family.… 

Safety is for dupes

You’ve been duped. They told you that safety is the most important thing in life, and you believed them. So you took the safe choice in everything. You followed the advice of the college career counselor, you invested according to what some washed-up Northwestern Mutual advisor said, you passed on some risky opportunities, you bought the cheapest car, you used software to create your budget, you sent your kids to a mediocre school because it was free, you stayed home for a year because someone told you to. And look at you now. You drive a depreciating, dangerous new minivan. Your slim 401(k) can’t be withdrawn for another thirty years. You work a boring, stable, dead-end job with a mediocre… 

The lost art of doing whatever you want

Our civilization, as we have progressed towards an ambiguous perfection, has lost some of the dirt along the way. I don’t mean bad dirt. I mean good dirt. Near total freedom and independence is almost impossible to achieve in an interconnected, bureaucratic, streamlined world. You really start to wonder if the Luddites saw something of an actual prophecy in the steam-powered machines they sabotaged. There used to be a frontier. Wherever you were in the world, you could go a little bit further and find total independence. You might have had to raise your own cattle and shoot your own deer with a flintlock, maybe fend off a few wild bears, but you would have been pretty damn free. The… 

Good attempts

If a fellow in a ‘97 Civic challenges a dude in a ‘20 Porsche to a race, we’re not going to blame him for the loss. Getting to sixty miles an hour in a 1997 Honda Civic takes about 9.6 seconds. The 2020 Porsche GT3 RS takes around 2.9 seconds.

In this case, we don’t critique the loss. We critique the attempt. A terrible Civic driver who dumps the clutch and gives up with a pout before even finishing the run? Not worth our accolades.

Rules of the road

The other day, I met a nice guy. Solid dude. But he had an obsession with rules and fairness. Sort of a self-designated class monitor. The type of guy who, given a mortgage and middle age, would campaign to be in charge of his neighborhood watch organization and spend his weekends putting those signs up all over the place. You know, those signs showing the devious gangster holding a cloak over his face like Dracula. Fairness. Equity. Rules. No loitering after 10pm! He read through the entire rulebook for the board game before we started. Called “Time!” every time it was time. Debated the existence of loopholes. Negated sudden twists of chance. And jubilantly exulted upon a win. He won… 

Loud, brash, and bold

Loud, brash, bold – it’s the sort of thing that can dazzle you. Whether it’s a client, a boss, a colleague, or a competitor, the pure speed and amount of activity is intimidating. Fast-talking conversations, two phones ringing at all times, sending hundreds of emails per day, until you feel like you’re in a live-action retelling of Uncut Gems.

Stop sending me Calendly links

If you do not know someone — if you haven’t established a working relationship with them — you should never send them a Calendly link.

For those of you who don’t know what Calendly is, let’s break down how it works. It’s basically a link to someone’s schedule, and they’ll have a list of open slots where you can reserve a half-hour or so of their time for a meeting.

The demonization of normality

When faced with problems, as humans we like to knee-jerk a hundred eighty degrees in the opposite direction. Faced with vanity and self-obsession, we like to condemn good looks. Faced with greed and hedonism, we like to condemn financial success. Faced with sloth and incompetence, we like to condemn relaxation. Faced with overwork and exhaustion, we like to condemn work. Of course, this doesn’t really make any sense. It’s never accurate to judge one swing of the pendulum by the extent of the counter-swing. In this maelstrom of polarities and counterpoints, society has developed into relying almost entirely upon ad hominem attacks. We are no longer judging the usefulness of a thing by the thing itself, but by who does… 

Nothing smells rotten in the state of Denmark

It’s August.

Reports say New York City has lost or is going to lose nearly one-third of its small businesses.

The $3,000 to $4,000 per month that over 33 million people are claiming from unemployment has just ended…for now.

1 million new unemployment claims are being filed each week.

Logistics companies lost 33% of their revenue in the past quarter. Entire industries like travel and hospitality have essentially flatlined.

By all accounts, something very bad is happening or is on the cusp of happening.