Greg Thinks Things #31

• 6 min read
Greg Thinks Things #31

Hello Friends,

The week when my notification went off I was running. This practice isn't unusual, but it was 9am and I am usually sat at my desk working away when I am reminded to put all of these ideas into a newsletter ready for you. Of course I'd already been working this morning but I've changed my morning routine little by little over the last few weeks and it has made a huge difference.

I feel like I am stealing the idea a little, because Matt D'Avella made a brilliant video about small changes at the end of last year which inspired me so I cant take the full credit.  However after months of searching on how to put good habits into my life, it seems I have found the answer — slow and steady wins the race.

Introducing small, achievable things to do each day is the key to making much bigger changes in your life. I started with small things like meditate and go for a walk, setting a reminder each day and ticking them off. This soon evolved into exercising each morning and walking the dog before 7am by just moving slowly.

I have always wondered why people get obsessed by successful peoples morning routines. Perhaps they are trying to find something in them that will change their own life and make them successful too. This is bonkers, but I am in a different mindset to morning routines now. You don't need to go all out, but changing small things can really set you up for the day. I was in no rush to change everything and not be able to keep it up, but just one new thing every couple of weeks has been a huge revelation.

What small, achievable thing could you do to improve your day?

Podcast Investment

Of course over the last few weeks I have been going backwards and forwards over podcasting again, but this is not more rumination. Instead it is emotion towards lost relationships, at least one sided ones.

During my 5 years working around the UK I spent a rough average of 5 hours a day driving, often much more. This time was always filled with podcasts. Each time I turned the key, after a few seconds pause my trusty Ford CMax (I had three of them in a row) was filled with my chosen episodes.

Hours and hours of my life I spent listening to Podcast personalities that taught me so much. They were my introduction to tech, to working on an iPad, my glimpse into brand new ways of thinking and new topics for me to become interested in. As the miles rolled on, I devoured whole episodes of my favorite shows over and over. The hosts shared personal insights with me, and we built up and very one sided relationship. I felt invested in them as podcasts and also individuals.

When my working life changed these dropped away, and as COVID hit they disappeared completely. These relationships my mind had built were severed and almost all of which I have no interest in now. It was only when compiling a list of my podcast feed now that I realised how many people have slipped out of my life.

I am filled with a strange melancholic feeling towards these shows and people. I am thankful for everything I have learnt and the interests I have found, but realised this was all one sided. All of a sudden understand people that become obsessed with people from TV shows than mean something to them.

An Ode To Markdown

Have you ever written in Markdown? I bet a large portion of the people reading this do it currently, or a modified version of it. We're all nerds here, so you're forgiven for thinking everyone does. But for the other 99% of the population, it is a plain text syntax that removes the need to mess around with changing headings, clicking buttons etc and write in a simple to understand 'code' for sharing later on.

In a world where design is so important, and people spend hours worrying about the font they write things in, Markdown is like a breath of fresh air. It's boring to talk about, and fairly standard looking but also really powerful. It reduces every text document I write to the basic elements, and also means I spend more time taping on the keys of the keyboard rather than changing elements.

I wish more people were aware of it, and used it when writing things so all the superficial rubbish is removed and only worried about when it's actually important.

The Scout Mindset

A recent Vox Conversations episode brought me towards a book about scout mindset. This is the basis of making your mind more inquisitive to look for information and understand everything fully instead of defending your beliefs.

I wrongly presumed that this was obvious to everyone, and then immediately realised that I was defending my static position already. I started to think about what happens when your beliefs become so ingrained in you that they become part of your personality. Are you the Apple guy? The Android girl? The iPad dude?

When your very person is framed by something you believe in, how can you ever hope to look at anything with a scout mindset. I've been guilty of this in the past, and projected my own bias onto many different things. We all have these things in us that we believe in, but the real thing to take away from this approach is to be mindful of them and make sure it doesn't cause you to miss any information or mean you're defending your position because you feel like it's personal.

Beliefs don't have to be permanent.

I Called Off My Wedding. The Internet Will Never Forget
In 2019, I made a painful decision. But to the algorithms that drive Facebook, Pinterest, and a million other apps, I’m forever getting married.
The weird science of the placebo effect keeps getting more interesting
Doctors can give someone a sugar pill, tell them it’s a placebo, and it still might help them.
Millions Are Saying No to the Vaccines. What Are They Thinking?
Feelings about the vaccine are intertwined with feelings about the pandemic.
Smartphone is now ‘the place where we live’, anthropologists say
A UCL study has found people around the world feel the same about their devices as they do about their homes

Before I Go

Two weeks after my last newsletter I managed to watch Mortal Kombat. Its available to rent in the UK and I enjoyed it but, as with most things, it doesn't hold a torch to the old film.

Thank you so much to the people that pointed out they read the last piece of the last edition, so much so that they spotted the typo in it. I could claim this was intentional to see who was really paying attention (did everyone have a teacher that tried to claim that) but it was a genuine error. My work is full of them!

But you. Take the very best care of yourself my friend.


Greg Things Things #30 →

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