Vol. VII of The Sunday Selects
Happy Sunday. Welcome to the curatorial issue of Path Nine!
Every other week, I curate a series of recommendations, links, and ideas that will help you on your path to think, work, and live better.
This week’s issue is 366 words (2 min read).
1. Words to Live By: Embracing uncertainty is the key to success.
2. Methodology: The Tetris Effect.
▶︎ 3 rules for expressing thoughts.
▶︎ Scribe - Simple, step by step guides
▶︎ Daft Punk Random Access Memories (10th Anniversary Edition)
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The Sunday Selects
Notes, Links, and Ideas from Kevin Kirkpatrick
1. Words to Live By
Whatever success I’ve had in life has had more to do with my knowing how to deal with my not knowing than anything I know. - Ray Dalio
We’re quick to think, “if I just had more information, I’d always make the right decision.” And yet, we prove time and time again that, despite growing access to more data and information, we fall short. We try things that don’t work. We say things we don’t mean. We make plans that we can’t keep. We are imperfect, just like the information we receive.
Life isn’t about knowing everything, it’s about learning to deal with the not knowing. Certainty is a moving target, so aiming for it is a fool’s errand. Instead of focusing on what you don’t know, why not spend time learning how to accept and deal with the lack of knowing. Knowledge is power, but mental flexibility is potent.
TL;DR Embracing uncertainty is the key to success. Accept it. Internalize it. Catalyze it.
The Tetris Effect
The Tetris effect is a phenomenon in which people who spend a lot of time playing a video game, such as Tetris, begin to see images from the game in their mind’s eye, even when they are not playing. It is a type of hallucination that occurs as a result of the brain’s tendency to adapt to repetitive visual stimuli.
Why it matters: the human brain is a pattern recognition engine, constantly seeking signals that it recognizes and repeats. The Tetris Effect isn’t just limited to the game. It’s a representation of the way in which our focus dictates our experience. We can become so enamored with something — an idea, a project, a task, a feeling — that it becomes our world. It absorbs into our bloodstream, transforming the very nature of our existence.
Seeing patterns is a biological trait that has evolved to help us adapt and survive. When the world was infinitely less predictable, it helps us find safe paths. If we think about how it can help us today, the upside is less obvious, but still evolutionarily influential. But, the downsides can really plague us.
↓ The Downside: When we see patterns, it can be difficult to unsee them, especially if they are negative. If we’re seeing negative patterns, we start to see — and experience — them everywhere. Each new experience is an exercise in confirmation bias, creating a positive feedback loop for our brain, further enhancing our existing negative bias. With so much negative information bombarding us, it’s easy to believe that the patterns we’re seeing actually exist, or that they’re the way things are.
↑ The Upside: But maybe they’re just hallucinations, created by the hyper-connected, always-on culture we live in. If so, how can we break free from the hallucinations or, possibly more interestingly, create hallucinations that improve our lives?
➤ The Takeaway: What we focus on determines what we experience. Focus on the positive and, soon enough, you’ll start to see it everywhere. Where others see problems, you’ll see potential. Where there are obstacles, you’ll see opportunities. It’s more than just reframing, it’s retraining. Here are some recommendations to get you started:
Recognize someone’s strengths and give them positive feedback
Reflect on what you’ve done well each day and be grateful
Write out 3 negative things happening, and write a few ways to reframe them
“Clear communication is not just about expressing yourself; it’s about creating a shared understanding with your audience.”
As I get older, I’ve learned the increasing value of good communication. Whether it’s at home, at work, or in social settings, clear communication is severely underrated. It can be really difficult to describe, even to yourself, what good communication looks like. For some, it’s brevity. For others, it’s clarity or comprehension. It’s one of those things that we intuitively gauge, but struggle to convey to others (ironic, I know). It's worth continuing the effort, regardless of how you define it, for the sake of your career, relationships, and quality of life.
Increase productivity and documentation, all in one. Scribe is a must-have tool for entrepreneurs and leaders who need to quickly translate processes into how-tos.
Knowledge workers spend an exorbitant amount of time repeating tasks. For all of the productivity improvements over the last few decades, I’m always astounded by how bad we are at recording the processes that we do on a day-to-day basis. I mean, yes, we know how to do it, but what if we’re flattened by a bus on Tuesday? How will Janet from accounting be able to get access to our weekly Twitter posts about phone chargers? Well, good news, Scribe has you covered. With Scribe, you can record every step of your digital workflows, without any of the hassle. Just click record, and it’ll record the steps, capture screenshots, and put them in a nice, tidy doc just for Janet.
“Random Access Memories is a reminder of what can happen when you combine a deep knowledge of music history with a forward-thinking vision of the future.”
I remember precisely where I was when I first listened to this album 10 years ago. Hands behind my head, feet crossed in incredibly uncomfortable Antonio Maurizi dress shoes, reclining in my over-priced Herman Miller office chair. I was in the office I shared with my music-loving colleague who, like it or not, was stuck listening to my music du jure, often ranging from Led Zeppelin to Oscar Peterson, but more often than not Tycho or Pretty Lights. But on this particular day, we ventured into something new. Something that I hadn’t expected from the electronic group that, up until this day, had produced music that, at a minimum, required strobe lights, glow sticks, and tank tops. All things that I can’t pull off.
This release wasn’t just a diversion though, it was a revelation. It tapped into something beyond itself. It found a voice that was both acclaimed and subversive. This album was, and still is, an incredibly important milestone. Rarely do we know how important something is until it has passed. This re-release is an opportunity to relive a moment that will live on.
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Thanks for reading, and see you next week,
— Kevin K. (@kkirkpatrick)