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Doing What You Want – Nerdful Mind #58

February 21, 2021 by Simon Mannes

What do you want to do? Do you know?

This simple question has so many facets:

  • There's the temporal view: what do you want to do now, later today, or tomorrow.
  • The question may have unspoken conditions: what would you do if you weren’t tired right now? If you were fit and full of energy?
  • The grand scheme of things: what do you want to do with your life? What do you want to look back on when you are old?
  • There’s even the implication that you want to do something at all. Maybe you don’t want to do anything right now?

All these questions can help you navigate your life. But an often-overlooked one is this: How often do you feel tension between what you want to do and what you should do?

This happens to everyone sometimes. But when you constantly feel that tension, it may be time to change course.

“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.” — James M. Barrie

Reading Recommendations

How to Breathe Properly When Meditating

“The point of mindfulness meditation practice is to cultivate awareness and peace, but beginners often get side-tracked by worrying about the breath. They wonder if there’s a ‘right way’ to breathe during meditation. Common concerns include: Should I breathe like I always do? Should I inhale and exhale through my mouth or nose? Should the air fill my lungs or my belly?”

You Can't Use 100% of Your Brain—and That’s a Good Thing

“A recent study shines light on large-scale patterns of brain activity. Results support the notion that using 100 percent of your brain is not achievable—or desirable.”

The Wrong Abstraction

“I've been thinking about the consequences of the "wrong abstraction." My RailsConf 2014 "all the little things" talk included a section where I asserted: "duplication is far cheaper than the wrong abstraction". And in the summary, I went on to advise: "prefer duplication over the wrong abstraction". This small section of a much bigger talk invoked a surprisingly strong reaction. A few folks suggested that I had lost my mind, but many more expressed sentiments along the lines of …”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

This exercise is inspired by stoicism:

The next time you catch yourself worrying about anything, find out if that thing is under your control.

If it's out of your control, let your worries go. Why worry if you can't change it?

If it's under your control, does worrying help you do better? Usually it doesn't, so you can also let go.

End Note

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Have a great week

Simon

PS: If you found an article you think others might like, and that fits this newsletter, I’d love it if you write me an email. Just reply!

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