Are you feeling any pain in your body?

Have you taken a deep breathe in the last 5 minutes?

Does your jaw, neck, or stomach have a sensation of tightness?

Are you in opposition of something right now?

Do you fear something?

Are you grasping for something right now?

Do you feel discontent with something that happened in the past?

Are you hoping that something specific happens in the future?

What past events or ideas about your future do you use to define your identity?

How many thoughts are you having from moment to moment?

Did you request that a…

Getting out of your personal prison

(This is a living document. I used Medium more like a public notepad for my thoughts. Articles are subject to being re-written and expanded as more information is added over time.)

Levels of Being an Impactful Person

Level 0: Focused on personal wants and needs. Ego-driven. “How do I become happy / successful / loved?” Follows a default script for life that has not been examined. Unlikely to feel whole, complete, happy.

Level 1: Has created own value system and uses it as a compass. Thinks about others / society / the world. Identifies…

🔥🏢 Well, you can!

Here’s the smartest way to start saving lives with donations.

After some quick research, I did the following. I should be giving more, but this was an easy first step in creating a strategy for giving.

I created a monthly donation of $300 ($3,600 / year) to GiveWell’s discretionary grant fund for the following reasons:
• Based on modeling, $3,600 is the average cost to avert a death with the work that Against Malaria Foundation is doing. For AMF’s upcoming project in DRC, it will cost roughly $2,000 to avert a death.
• GiveWell has expertise on assessing…

A publication created by the Facebook Design team

In June of 2018, a zine titled The Imposter appeared on my desk at Facebook HQ. It had been created by Facebook designers and distributed internally to the few hundred members of the design team. With a mild sense of dread, I opened the cover and read the note from the editors on the first page. Their note concluded with the following statement:

And remember — we’re all Imposters here.

What. The. Hell, Becky!? All members of the design team had just been involuntarily conscripted into a deeply insecure group of individuals brimming with self doubt. …

Back to the Toolkit | Vipassana

Vipassana Meditation is Hardcore

I sat silently in the woods for 6 days and gained a valuable tool from the experience. No speaking, no eye-contact, no reading, no writing, and no modern technology. Many forms of meditation are about relaxation and treating stress. Vipassana is about directly confronting the impermanence of reality, the pain in our bodies, and the instability of our minds.

We have intellectual knowledge that everything is temporary, but this technique provides experiential knowledge that impermanence is real by using our own body as a tool to investigate reality.

It also allows us to…

This living article serves as my own reference for the most valuable guideposts that make up my map for living. This article changes over time. I encourage you to write your own toolkit and contact me if you would like to discuss how these things can apply to your own life.

The Nature of Happiness

Tara Brach (Book: Radical Acceptance, Podcast: iTunes)
Rick Hansen (Books: Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Newsletter: Just One Thing)
Alan Watts (Book: The Wisdom of Insecurity)

Each person has a baseline level of satisfaction which can vary in the short term but returns to the baseline over time. We can gradually shift our baseline dispositions by taking advantage of neuroplasticity and by accepting the nature of reality.

Read my notes on happiness tools

Vipassana Meditation (I went to a center in Kelseyville)
I sat in the woods for 6 days without speaking and gained a valuable tool from the experience. Warning…

← Back to the Toolkit | Happiness

Happiness is Not a Fish That You Can Catch

Tara Brach (Book: Radical Acceptance, Podcast: iTunes)
Rick Hansen (Books: Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Newsletter: Just One Thing)
Alan Watts (Book: The Wisdom of Insecurity)

What is happiness? Is it a feeling of satisfaction with everything in your life? A person cannot remain in a perpetual state of happiness, because the nature of reality is constant change, and our own nature is to constantly fight reality by either resisting or clinging to various things. The pursuit of some goal implies a dissatisfaction with the current state that motivates efforts to get from here…

If you’re building interactive data visualization projects as an individual creator or in a small team (2 to 4 people), you may be able to conceive, design, and build projects without too much explicit process or documentation. But if you’re building visualization projects with a larger team, and especially if you’re doing it for external clients, how can you make sure that all data-related concerns are successfully carried through the project?

First, let’s look at the process for creating web products where data is not a special consideration:

Some tragic thing happened at some point in the past day. I don’t know when exactly, I wasn’t paying attention. But I heard that Steve Harvey, who, by the way, has a great episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry, became the victim of a stupidly made card from which he read the names of the winners.

Okay, I just returned from looking it up and… oh my, what a disaster. (See for yourself HERE.) That was about two minutes of Colombia tearfully thanking the crowd until Harvey returned reluctantly with head bowed.

(But soon we won’t have to)

Such elegant lines

Normally, as I wade through the gyre of daily Internet trash, I don’t get too upset about anything I find.


As someone who has lived and breathed cars since before I was born, I was unable to resist responding to this particular Medium post — The Zombie-mobile — that drifted across my feed when Dave Morin shared it. It’s not just any old post though; this appears to be an excerpt from a Book, and Books imply undue credibility. I find this both dishonest and disturbing. (In fact, I think the reason I’m writing this is because I want…

Paul Van Slembrouck

My mission: Reduce suffering | Awaken people | Teach humans about being human | Donate money

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