Happy New Year to you, and welcome to the fourth edition of my newsletter! One of my goals for this year is to write and share more often — including getting on a more regular cadence of publishing my newsletter.
So let’s jump right in. On this week’s docket:
I wrapped up my 2021 Annual Review last week (a little late, I know). I used Khe Hy’s rad Annual Review Notion Template (if you’re interested in doing it yourself, click ‘Duplicate’ in top right corner).
The purpose of the workshop was to evaluate how I spent my time last year and to see if it aligned with what I value. It also encouraged me to reflect on:
Some things in my Jar of Awesome included:
Khe posits that in order to make sure you’re headed in the right direction in life, you need to ask the right questions. Asking these questions ensures that you aren’t sailing through life with no direction. Continuing with maritime analogy, he puts forth two different categories of elevating questions: Alignment Questions (your life-ship’s rudder), and North Star Questions (a lighthouse for your dreams and aspirations).
I was so inspired by this concept that I decided to do a drawing based on the analogy he provided. (One of my 2022 goals is start drawing regularly again)
Khe also hosted a follow-up event, Your Roadmap to an Epic 2022 which wrapped up last week. With your goals, habits, and domains (domains being the “important, but not urgent” parts of your life) defined, it was focused on creating systems to evaluate the value of the “tasks” on your life’s to-do list, to ensure that you’re doing the highest leverage work possible. I.e. Do you want to do 5,000 things that don’t matter, or 5 of the most important things?
Instead of looking at the upcoming year like an endless pool of available time to work on what’s on important to you, Khe calculated that we actually have about 721 hours this year to make progress on these high-leverage tasks (based on the assumption that the average worker is productive for 3 hours per day).
Khe calls these high-leverage tasks and activities $10k work, and encouraged everyone in the workshop to start analyzing and tagging their day-to-day task against this $10k framework he created.
Here is a link to the self-guided template.
Below if is a breakdown of the different domains of my life that I’ll be focusing on in 2022. I will post relevant updates on these as the year progresses!
This was the last article I published in 2021. It focused on how computers can be used as mediums to encourage and facilitate active learning and exploration, instead of passive consumption. In particular I highlight a new concept called an explorable explanation.
What are explorable explanations?
They are “reactive documents” with text and visuals enriched with interactive “handles” for the user to play around with and develop an intuition for how the system at hand works. The visuals give direct feedback when the controls are manipulated.
I provide several examples in the piece, but I’m hoping to develop my own “explorables” throughout the year as a proof of concept, because:
There is a need to think beyond computer interfaces the way they are designed today, not through the lens of a product or service but as a new medium for thought. We need to think about moving from a static medium (marks on paper) to an interactive, dynamic medium that allows the learner to actively participate in the thinking process.
Lastly (sharing here for some accountability), I’m hoping and planning on kicking off a site refresh in React (inspired by the Maggie Appleton).
Here are some of the standout things I’ve read recently:
There was a particularly poignant trend (the future of work) mentioned in this article, that proposed that:
The future of work isn’t remote or hybrid workplace experiences. The future of work is a trauma-informed workplace. Trauma-any event or experience that leads to emotional, physical, spiritual, or psychological harm, distress, or impairment-is what’s plaguing the workplace, and organizations have failed to adequately address and offer support to their employees and the organizational trauma that ensues in meaningful ways.
For remote and hybrid work to become better, organizations need to understand that trauma is not just an individual issue, it’s an organizational one. [And that] organizations are falling short as they implement initiatives and strategies around employee well-being, prioritizing speed over what their employees actually need.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of work recently, especially as I’ve been feeling the burnout working for a tech company grappling with and struggling to adapt to the “new normal” remote work situation.
This year, I’m planning on creating some guidelines and frameworks that companies (including mine) can use improve to organizational communication and collaboration.
Remix: To copy, transform and combine existing materials to produce something new.
A big part of what holds me back from pursuing creative endeavors and sharing them publicly is this pervasive fear of being judged for not being original in my work or thinking. Then one of my Write of Passage compatriots, Nate Kadlac, turned me on to this liberating video, which reminded me that nothing is original, and that “it’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.” And that so much of our human progress has been built on top of the knowledge and learnings of those who came before us.
Remixing allows us to make music without playing instruments, to create software without coding, to create bigger and more complex ideas out of smaller and simpler ideas.
Despite being a bit alarmist, this opinion piece offered a comprehensive breakdown of the multitude of factors that have led the extreme divisiveness that is plaguing our country and putting our very democracy at risk.
What seems to have pushed the United States to the brink of losing its democracy today is [a series of shifts that include] stagnating middle-class incomes, chronic economic insecurity, and rising inequality as the country’s economy transformed by technological change and globalization - has transitioned from muscle power, heavy industry, and manufacturing as the main sources of its wealth to idea power, information technology, symbolic production and finance. As returns to labour have stagnated and returns to capital have soared, much of the U.S. population has fallen behind.
[Source] Notice how over half of NASDAQ’s market cap is taken up by just 5 (tech companies). It’s interesting to see how much of what the United States produces nowadays is symbolic and non-tangible. It might shine some light on who some workers/people (particularly blue collar) are getting left behind.
[Another factor] is demographic: as immigration, aging, intermarriage and a decline in church-going have reduced the percentage of non-Hispanic white Christians in America, right-wing ideologues have inflamed fears that traditional U.S. culture is being erased and whites are being “replaced”.
The average quality of information is getting worse and worse. But the best stuff is getting better and better. Markets of abundance are simultaneously bad for the median consumer but good for intelligent ones. - David Perell
David (who started Write of Passage) proposes in his video Is the Internet Making You Stupid? suggests finding curators who can navigate “the waters of information abundance” for you. One of my goals this year is to use my newsletter for this kind of curation.
Shane Parrish did a recap of lessons learned from Farnham Street’s most popular episodes of 2021. My two favorite lessons were from conversations with Nir Eyal and Adam Grant
I think the reason why distraction and procrastination is always an emotion regulation problem is because the root because of all human behavior is not what most people expect, that most people subscribe to this pop psychology notion that Freud actually proposed, that he called it, the pleasure principle, that everything we do is about the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. Jeremy Bentham said something very similar, we all know it as carrots and sticks, this is how you motivate. Turns out, neurologically speaking, this is not true that human motivation is not about carrots and sticks, it’s not about pain and pleasure, but rather it’s just about one thing; all human behavior is spurred by the desire to escape discomfort.
You’re entitled to your own opinion if you keep your opinion to yourself. If you decide to say it out loud, then I think you have a responsibility to be open to changing your mind in the face of better I logic or stronger data. I think if you’re willing to voice an opinion, you should also be willing to change that opinion.
Daniel Pink shared this timely Neil Gaiman quote encouraging us all to make mistakes.
Until next time,