Category Archives: outside resource

Hate the Self-Help Genre?

Hate how positive & fake-feeling the self-help genre can seem?

Then read this longer New Yorker article: Improving Ourselves to Death by Alexandra Schwartz. It’s an impressive survey & criticism.

Self-help advice reflects the beliefs and priorities of the era that spawned it.

In the January 15, 2018 issue, it’s fitting for those who ponder New Year’s Resolutions, which she addresses, and then she covers:

  • The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
  • SuperBetter, by Jane McGonigal
  • Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth
  • Smarter Better Faster, by Charles Duhigg
  • The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne
  • Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement: A Year Inside the Optimization Movement, by Carl Cederström and André Spicer
  • The Wellness Syndrome, by Carl Cederström and André Spicer
  • Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, by Tim Ferriss
  • Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us, by Will Storr
  • You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want, by Sarah Knight (my blog post on her TED Talk)
  • Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze, by Svend Brinkmann

Ending with Stoicism, this reminds me of my buddy Jesse, and what’s surely his addition to the above:

  • The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, by Oliver Burkeman

So what’s the answer?

There’s a lot of different ones in the article. I’m currently looking into Stoicism.

Hammer and the Hedgehog

What’s the worst place to have an epiphany about your whole approach to life being wrong?

At work. In a meeting. Run by you. About your approach to life.

Why Agile?” was the topic of our bi-weekly Agile Guild gathering: when to ‘use it’ and when not to ‘use it’. Answer: When tasks are complex, not simple. What’s another way of thinking about complexity? There’s high discoverability & low predictability. I just saved you the bulk of an hour-long discussion. You’re welcome.

No mind-blowing epiphanies yet. So far, we gucci.

All of a sudden, fellow Scrum Master Stephen busted out a cautionary quote about ‘using Agile’, a version of which I like is:

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.  – Abraham Maslow

Well, in Asheville they say – that the Merrill’s small head grew three sizes that day. (And then – the true meaning of Agile came through, and the Merrill found the strength of ten Grinches Merrills, plus two!)

Mind equalled blown. Doesn’t often happen. Continue reading

Are you Lazy? Get a Routine

I’m pretty useless after the dance party.

After dinner, the table mostly put away, and our daughter’s toys mostly… not put away (yet), the CD player goes on, and the dance party begins.

Matt Heaton steps the tiny masses through basic behavioural norms like stopping and going. Then there’s a Wombat Dance. (We have a 2-year-old, so this all makes sense.) Before Matt, but still in popular rotation, we had Karen K and the Jitterbugs, wherein you, too, may want to be a Jitterbug, or have Pancakes for Dinner.

At some parentally appointed point, the music stops.

At some later painfully negotiated point, toys are put away.

At some even later peacefully navigated point, our daughter is in bed.

At this point, I’m pretty useless.

There’s 1-2 hours left in regulation time before the daily game is over, and I’m not really in the mood for anything creative or productive. Personal growth-related activities? Pfft, grrrl, please.

So what’s a citizen to do? Continue reading

Mental Decluttering by Not Giving A

In the TED Talk “The Magic of Not Giving a F***“, Sarah Knight’s approach to minimalism is very… practical. And colourfully stated!

She covers her ‘notsorry’ method, which guards your time and treasure without you feeling like a… jerk. She ends her talk thus:

But mental decluttering: learning how to say ‘no’, set boundaries, and give fewer, better fucks? That lasts forever.

So decide what you don’t give a fuck about (know your ‘fuck budget’). Then don’t give a fuck about those things (honestly & politely). 12.5-minute video embedded below to better get this message. Enjoy!

Oh, and yeah, she audibly drops the F-bomb. A lot. But otherwise, it’s SFW!

Tweeting my Cover Letter to Twitter

When you’re unemployed for a few months, you start to question if you’re barking up the wrong tree. Or you’re just not barking right.

When an opportunity to apply to Twitter arose, I couldn’t help but put my name in the hat, and be creative about it, especially since their main product is a freakin’ medium of communication.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I hate cover letters.

Hate ‘em.

It is hard for me to engage in an activity I don’t believe in – and I can’t be the only one who thinks like this. This is a general enough statement, and it applies to me specifically around cover letters. Continue reading