3 Minute Monday
It’s my birthday tomorrow.
If you want to give me a present, leave me a nice review here.
Nudes are also accepted, but I’d rather have the review, or both ideally.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how our minds tend toward catastrophe.
It’s an unfortunate side effect of being an animal who is easy to kill and has been surrounded by predators for a hundred thousand years.
This means that we will always presume the worst case outcome, the most scary, most threatening possibility.
Add on top of this that we are social creatures with very active imaginations & complex interpersonal relationships and you have a recipe for incredibly negative thought patterns to develop.
Not Useful is a tool to counteract this from past MW guest & New York Times Best Selling Author, James Altucher.
From a meditative perspective it’s a simple “noting” technique, but the impact it can have on your thoughts is profound.
Much of our distress in life comes from what we think in our mind, rather than what is happening in the world.“The whole universe is change and life itself is but what you deem it.”
― Marcus Aurelius
By noticing when we have become lost in negative thoughts and then NOTING that we have become lost in thought, we create a mindfulness gap between us and our emotions.
Suddenly we see them for what they are – just thoughts.
Rather than what we were perceiving them as – a real life threat.
We remind ourself that these thoughts are not serving us, which allows us to return to thinking rationally about something which does.
Consider all the negative things you think throughout the day.
“I’m jealous of him, I don’t like my hair, I wish I had more money, that photo of me isn’t very nice, my co worker is annoying blah blah blah.”
None of these serve us.
They don’t make our life any better.
They are Not Useful.
Not only are they Not Useful, but they are also taking up room for thoughts which are useful.
You can’t think two things at once, so every second spent on a negative thought is a second not spent on a positive one.
The pain of negative thoughts is made worse by the opportunity cost of not having positive ones.
So, the goal is to cultivate a sense of awareness about when your thoughts are not serving you.
Notice when you have been swept away by a thought.
Does having this thought help you or make your life better?
If not, label it as Not Useful.
Remind yourself that your thoughts are supposed to serve you, not destroy you.
And allow the thought to pass.
You’re not going to catch yourself every time you think something negative, but you can start to move the needle in the right direction.
After a few years of using this strategy, it’s become a lot more like second nature.
And that’s coming from someone who used to have the most catastrophic mindset ever.
This week’s upcoming episodes:
Dr Zach Bush MD on his biggest lessons from 2020, his opinion on the COVID-19 vaccine, how you can deal with a loss of meaning & much more.
Sven Nyholm talks about the ethics of sex robots and self-driving cars. Such an awesome philosophical discussion.
Diane Rehm on the Right To Die Movement. If you’re sick and in pain, you don’t get to choose when you die, how can this be moral?
THINGS I’VE LEARNED
There is a new class of Ultramassive Black Holes.
TON-618 is a black hole so large, it’s created a new category.
It’s got the mass of 40 Billion Suns.
If it were located just 280 light years away, it would shine as brightly as our Sun does in the sky.
It may be due to a Direct Collapse event, where instead of a star collapsing in on itself, a huge cloud of gas and stars all coalesce to directly form a black hole.
Its physical size is 800-times the earth-sun distance.
It’s basically a black hole the size of a solar system.
People who live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced.
Most people believe that living together before marriage should improve the odds of doing well in marriage.
There is very scant evidence to support this belief in a positive effect, and quite a lot to support a negative effect.
Premarital cohabitation is associated with higher risks for divorce in all years after the first year.
Netflix is a time saver.
An American TV viewer who watches Netflix rather than normal ad-funded television could avoid 160 hours of ads every year.
That’s equivalent to a month of eight-hour working days.
Have one actionable element on an Instagram Story.
If you’re asking people to go to a link, don’t have any @ handles in the story.
If you want clickthroughs onto a profile, don’t have anything else people can press on.
Basically, just have one available action on a story and nothing else.
Every time you add another available action, you’ll fragment the audience away from doing the thing you want.
Me and Andrew Doyle reacted to The Sunday Times Magazine’s interview with Jordan Peterson. You should watch it.