3 Minute Monday
A young MP was being shown around Parliament by Winston Churchill.
As he wandered through the halls and the offices, he asked questions about how the building was put together.
Churchill obliged and gave the young man advice on how this world worked.
Upon entering the House of Commons Chamber, Churchill’s new friend started referring to the MPs on the other benches as “the enemy”.
Churchill reportedly said “That’s the opposition, dear boy. The enemy is behind you.”
I love this story.
I love it because I think it represents how we often see our relationship with the world.
We presume that the world is out to get us.
That it’s a malign force with malevolent intent which will crush us by seeking out our weakness the second it can.
This makes for a good motivational story.
In fact I’ve nodded my head as David Goggins said this exact thing to me.
And maybe it’s figuratively true, but it’s literally false.
The world doesn’t care about you.
It doesn’t even recognise your existence.
First off, “the world” isn’t a thing, the actual environment out there is LITERALLY indifferent to your existence.
Secondly, the actors who inhabit the environment are all so caught up in their own lives that they can’t be bothered to even consider you.
“We would care far less about what other people thought about us if we realised how rarely they did.”
Sometimes you become collateral damage as a byproduct of other people’s plans, but genuine ENEMIES essentially don’t exist for almost anyone.
The individual who is able to create a bespoke curse for you is not out there in the world.
They live inside your head.
You know your weaknesses, your fears and where your shame and guilt lies.
And your inner voice continues to pick at those scabs.
You chastise yourself for falling short even when you tried your best.
The only person acting as an enemy to you, is you.
I think this is a liberating realisation because it puts the power back in our hands.
The world is indeed an opposition which needs cajoling and negotiating with and navigating around.
The enemy is behind you.
The world’s not out to get you.
“’Cause sometimes things will bend you
But trust me you’ll be fine
‘Cause I’ve been moving mountains
That I once had to climb
And life’s not out to get you
Despite the things you’ve been through
Because what you give is what you get
And it doesn’t make sense to make do.” — Neck Deep, Golden Steps
I do a podcast which has had 200 million+ downloads. You should subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
This week’s upcoming episodes:
Dr K Healthy Gamer – one of the most requested ever guests joins me to discuss screen addiction, social media, mental health, porn, video games and more. So so good.
John Lisle – a historian who combed through the national archives to uncover The Dirty Tricks Department – the CIA’s secret WWII wing which made radioactive foxes, tried to trans Hitler and strapped bombs to bats.
Valerie Fridland – a sociolinguist who explains why we all say “like” so much in the modern world. Is “umm” and “err” a natural sound? Where do words come from and why do they take hold?
THINGS I’VE LEARNED
Adoption will not fix birthrate decline.
Many couples say “if we have any problems getting pregnant, we’ll definitely just adopt. There’s so many children out there who need a home.”
“For every adoptable infant in the US adoption system, there are 30 pairs of parents waiting to adopt.” — Stephen Shaw
Many older kids struggle to find homes too.
There are far fewer willing parents to adopt older children who have been through multiple foster/care homes.
International adoption has also been outlawed from many areas like Africa, Asia and South America.
So no importing a baby.
Many states in the US now prioritise reuniting children with their birth parents.
If parents are drug addicts they will place children in foster care in the hope the parents can kick the habit.
They also prioritise adoption with blood relatives.
Essentially, every person who says “not having your own child doesn’t matter because there’s tons of kids out there who need adopting” has no idea what they’re talking about.
If you fly off the handle on the internet, you are the problem.
“I block the easily outraged because they’re the foot-soldiers of the mob, who in the old days would’ve lynched people over neighbourhood rumours.
Those without self-control are soon controlled by others; they’re the useful idiots of ideologues, the tools of tyranny.” — Gurwinder Bhogal
Your boos mean nothing, I’ve seen what makes you cheer.
“Would a musician feel flattered by the loud applause of his audience if it were known to him that, with the exception of one or two, it consisted entirely of deaf people?” — Arthur Schopenhauer
If you have Audible, you’re probably on a monthly membership like I was.
This week I found out that not only is there an annual membership which saves a good bit of money, but that Audible also do a different membership with 2 credits per month instead of 1.
£109 gets you the annual double-credit membership.
Which I think is only £40 more than the monthly single, but you get an extra 12 books.
This link should work. If not, you know how to work Google.
Never miss an episode by pressing Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
I’ve flown to Manchester today with James Smith for 24 hours. That product we teased that we’re going to release? Soon cometh baby.