[no. 17] GoB: weekly musings

“We make plans…and God laughs.”

- Michael Chabon

The most amazing reads of the week:

1. “What Putin is up to. And how he may have overplayed his hand” (25 min read, link here)

“The Russians make no secret of their intent, nor did Putin just sit back and watch these benefits to Russia accumulate.”

There are things stirring on the global political sphere at a degree never seen in our lifetimes or the world’s recent memory. One of those is Russia’s “provocations” of its neighbors and European states. I have sent numerous links in the past on the same topic. The Atlantic this week has written a piece on the latest in Russia’s relations to the west and synthesized Putin’s actions with what his intention must be. Supporting right wing parties in upcoming EU elections, military provocation of Scandinavian countries, occupying Baltic states and prodding the US/UK, it all reads like a spy novel. Of course the truth is that the US has also been slowly moving its missile defense systems closer and closer to Russian borders. Partially the recent actions of Russia are defensive, and partially a desperate grab for power. Read on.

2. Pixar’s (free) course on storytelling (link here)

“an exploration of the storytelling process at Pixar.”

The online course company, The Khan Academy have really out-done themselves here with a course offered by Pixar on how to become a great storyteller based on how Pixar’s process works. The course is offered in small bites and with plenty of interviews and content by staff at Pixar to guide you along the process. The importance of storytelling as a creative or business oriented person cannot be understated. It is widely regarded as a necessary skill in the modern economy and learning from the best in the field, is a uniquely thrilling opportunity. Definitely a link to skill up with!

3. “Cognitive bias cheatsheet” (link here)

“We’d rather do the quick, simple thing than the important complicated thing, even if the important complicated thing is ultimately a better use of time and energy.”

My craft of investing is one where learning how to think is critical and overlooked realities can mean your career comes to a swift end. This is why I like to use cheat sheets above my desk, they help me think through problems and keep my perspective relatively holistic when considering variables. One of the best cheat sheets I have found is this comprehensive one-pager on cognitive biases that we have when sifting through facts. This is important because in the information age, we become absorbed in going through an unlimited amount of data without considering how our brain’s unconscious functions are selectively building our picture for us. Take a read of the pre-amble and a look at the cheat sheet, it is always useful to be aware of what we may not be seeing, whether in our professional or personal lives.

4. “How to decide” (10 min read, link here)

“Sometimes, Caution is just weakness and cowardice wrapped up in the cloak of self-deception.”

This is a follow up to last week’s article “Are you suffering from decision fatigue?”, written by The Book of Life. This intriguing piece talks to the 6 different angles that make up our perspectives before making a particular decision. These are; our Enemy, our Gut, Death, Caution, Courage and our Parents. This is important because ultimately, the decisions we make combine to determine the quality of our lives. Being aware of which angle may be impacting us most at the time of a major decision is critical in checking against inherent traps as we all try to arrive at our best selves. A simply written and well considered bit of writing, this piece certainly helped me be more aware of the actors in our minds.

5. “They raise the world’s happiest children — so is it time you went Dutch?” (10 min read, link here)

“The Dutch opt for time, not money, and practicality over luxury goods”

This was a fascinating article written by two authors from the west who are raising a family in the Netherlands. The contrasts in parenting and happiness levels of Dutch children has been well documented, but the authors here break down the reasons why these children are growing up much more balanced and happier than anywhere else in the world. It is always intriguing to read the differences between parenting styles across cultures, especially if it encourages us to value quality and decrease pressures. A refreshing and informative read!

6. “Be more selfish” (5 min read, link here)

“this is a story of the battle between the self that you want to be and an imperfect world trying to stop you.”

Station 515 is a gym owned by Burkey, who is a discipline of Gym Jones (see GoB no. 15 here), a place where I find incredible inspiration. This short, journal-like writing is an example of the higher standard we must all hold ourselves. The extremely personal, motivational blog screams to us to make the tough choices, not as a way to wear another medal or for a pat on the back, but purely for the purposes of crafting our souls — for the very reason we are here. The post begs us to be more selfish. An emotive piece for the week ahead, I hope this speaks to a corner of your soul to make you a better you.

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Keep it 100,

Aman