Friday Notes 074 - October 11 2019

It’s turned cold around here, even had frost on the ground Thursday morning. Of course, give it a few weeks and I’ll see 15C and rain...for most of the rest of the year until summer decides to come. The continual ran was the hardest part of moving here from Ontario, where it isn’t grey for weeks on end.

Now for email subscribers only, I’ve been reading an advance copy of Indistractable by Nir Eyal (yup I’m behind because it’s already out) and in that he discusses the difference between distraction and traction. He hangs a fairly long bit on how distraction pulls us away from traction.

In Eyal’s mind, traction is us moving towards the life that we want to live. That random Twitter checking, or cleaning the house when you should be working, well it’s distraction and that means you’re moving further away from the life you hope to live.

This quote also stuck out to me:

Most people don’t want to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth that distraction is always an unhealthy escape from reality. Page 23

He goes on to say that you’re probably doing something you think has little value to you or the people you want to serve and that you need a bigger purpose if you want to be able to stay on task. Is that true for you?

Later in the book he has a bunch of great tips for staying away from distraction, so watch for that review in the next few weeks.

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Friday Five

1. Adults Don’t Know What They’re Talking About

Remembering the crazy predictions about a Rage Against the Machine concert, the author comes to a realization.

It was the first time in my life I realized adults don’t know what they’re talking about. It was an important night.

This is similar to a question I ask myself often, what do I believe now that the world in the future will think is crazy. What am I teaching my kids that they’ll shake their heads at because I’m such a backwards old man when I still hold on to those beliefs when they’re adults?

I don’t have any answers, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

2. What Does Time Well Spent Mean to You?

From Anne-Laure Le Cunff:

Define what “time well spent” means to you: sit down, and think about what really makes you happy and gets you in the flow, without overthinking about how feasible the final outcome would be. Just think of your output and how it makes you feel to work on producing it.

Maybe this relates to my post from a few minutes ago about feeling punched in the face. Am I daily creating the maximum value that I think I can create, or as the article above says earlier, am I engaged in frivolity. I’d say that some nights of the week I’m just doing time killing things around the house instead of being the dad I want to be.

I think that one of the problems here is feeling like we always have to be doing something productive instead of doing the slow thing that we desire to do.

3. Metaphorically Feeling Punched

From Justin Jackson:

I’m fortunate that I had people in my life who noticed I was in a negative tailspin and gently nudged me to take action.

I’ve been wondering what’s up with myself lately (more on that in a future article). With that sentence above...I wonder if I have the answer. Am I harbouring resentment, and if so, what am I going to do about it so that I can be the dad and husband I dream of being?

I don’t think it’s that I have toxic people around1, maybe it’s that I feel I’ve worked hard for 10 years, and I’m not where I had dreamed of being but I don’t see a way past where I’m at now?

4. We Might Actually Desire Slowness

From Rainesford Stauffer in NY Times:

The idea that young people like me are always on the go, always in transition and always on masks that we might actually desire slowness, want to relish an experience, or enjoy taking a moment to feel comfortable and human instead of curated and optimized.

I read this article about little leisure at the library because I was at a good stopping point in my work with about 30 minutes left in the day and figured that I could get just a bit more work done in the form of reading a single blog article.

I’m going to publish this and then browse the book aisle and get flowers for my wife, without listening to podcasts or anything.

5. Running and Mental Health

Powerful video with three women talking about how running has helped them with mental health. They’re going to talk about childhood trauma, body image issues and eating disorders. If that’s going to bother you, maybe don’t watch.

I particularly enjoyed the idea of substituting your bad addicitions for something good. That’s what James Clear talked about in Atomic Habits. Atomic Habits doesn’t deal with mental health so much, as building the habits you want, so if you’re stuck with one you don’t like check it out to build something you want.


  1. Seriously every time I write something like this I get emails from people saying I’m awesome ↩︎