February Journal Excerpts

  • Create something that you can share with others. Creating something for yourself is fine, but the act of sharing gives far more meaning to the act of creation.
  • When you get the urge to check your phone, just wait a few seconds and do nothing. More often than not, you’ll quickly think of a better way to spend your time.
  • There is a huge difference between futzing around on the internet looking for random bits of entertainment, and actually sitting down and staring out into empty space. I think the latter way of spending one’s time is, in many instances, more productive than the former.
  • The most respected worldview in many academic circles is that we are all a bunch of little particles bumping mindlessly into one another. That everything is just an accidental byproduct of this chaotic subatomic motion. This is a worldview that people develop by spending a lot of time reading books and looking into test tubes, or listening to others who have spent a lot of time doing these things. If a person starts living life, and listening to music, and looking up at the stars, I think they’ll eventually come to the conclusion that something slightly more divine is going on.
  • At any moment, everything could change. We trick ourselves into thinking some things in life are relatively permanent, but this is not the case. At any given moment, you could have an aneurism and reincarnate in an alternate universe with different laws of physics. I’m by no means certain that’s what happens after death, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
  • It’s amazing how much dissonance can be created when someone you deeply trust and respect says something that goes against your strongest views or beliefs.
  • I’m increasingly coming to realize that I often display the behaviors and attitudes I criticize when I see them displayed by others. It’s a hard thing to accept, but it’s true. So often, my criticism is hypocritical.
  • You might be feeling bad, despite doing a bunch of things right, if you’re missing on key variable, like an important micronutrient (low levels of which might be associated with depression) or enough social connections. Among other things, this means that the solution to your emotional problems might actually be much simpler than you think
  • You can learn from the losses. But you can learn from the victories as well. In all honestly, I’m not so sure about the commonly held notion that failure is a better teacher than victory. The belief that you can win, that you can succeed, is a pretty fantastic belief to have. And victory is the teacher that instills this belief within you.
  • I’m generally far more interested in hearing a person’s stories than hearing their advice. Advice is just an opinion that is probably not going to serve me half the time. A story on the other hand, will bring me a tiny bit closer towards understanding how the world works.
  • What do you believe to be true? What do you believe to be true about yourself? What do you believe to be true about the world? Is there any chance, however slim, that you might be mistaken?
  • The quality of my state of mind is largely a function of how much progress I feel as though I’ve made over the past 6–12 hours. This holds true regardless of how well the previous day went.
  • You don’t need to figure everything out. Sometimes it’s best to just embrace the mystery.
  • When we read what early humans thought about causation, about the reason why things are the way they are and move the way they do, we laugh. I wonder if future generations will do the same when they read about our ideas on such topics.
  • How many times have you written that down? How many times have you told that story? Might it be time to move on to something new?
  • It could all fall down at any moment. That’s life. It’s a simple fact that we just have to live with.
  • So often something that someone said is bothering me. Some random quote or statement or idea that I am unable to figure out, or that goes against my view of the way reality works, or that is implying reality works in some way that I don’t want it to. So often one of these little statements is gnawing away at my peace of mind.
  • It’s strange, but it often seems as though we make progress in one area when we focus very deeply on making progress in another.
  • What loop are you caught in? Might an extreme event be able to snap you out of it? Extreme experiences often lead to extreme growth.
  • Saying the thing that you’ve been hesitant to say. The thing that has been on your mind for a while, but which you have been reluctant to express to another person. Getting this out is, I think, very healing.

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