Categories
Emotional Work Startups

Day 1193 And Peak Performance

I was really struggling yesterday so I didn’t expect to jump right onto a flow state today. I went into town to eat a hamburger.

“You may not like it but eating a burger in the back of a casino in a strip mall in Montana while reading an economics lecture by Deidre McCloskey is actually female peak performance”

Maybe it was the positive effect of a bunch of fat and protein but I was in the zone afterwards. I was able to pull together a bunch of disparate connections on a specialty niche where I’ve had some very promising investments.

I, for a brief shining moment, realized I was almost certainly one of the most expert and well connected people on the planet for something.

So much of not getting eaten by change is simply accepting that you feel absolutely bonkers an enormous amount of time. Learning to live with it isn’t as easy as it looks

If you are lucky and smart and open minded a straight line can appear through what was other completely disparate things. It’s funny that we call putting a line through things regression right? Simplifying things is funny like that.

Learning to act when you see a through line is almost all of the battle. “Noticing things” is only useful insofar as it something you take action on.

I felt as if I had no clear path at all yesterday on anything and then today I did. I didn’t see some kind of perfect Delphic vision of the future. I just realized that work I’d set in motion three or four years ago has yielded results and if I was able to keep going with other people who saw it too then I had done what I could.

Categories
Chronic Disease Emotional Work

Day 1192 and Stasis

I am not feeling well today and used all the capacity I had to simply push at the edges of my universe and scream a bit into the abyss.

Screaming into the abyss is my pet name for being on the internet. Mostly Twitter. I know it sounds stupid.

Sometimes there are actual people on there still which is a small comfort. Just telegraphing into the universe that you are a “live one” is half the battle of bringing the future into the present.

I know it sounds like a stupid way to bring in resources and deals and alliances but it works. Make of that what you will. I’ll get on a phone call now and again if you are really compelling and intelligent. I spent some time on the phone with one of my favorite people and it was more energy than I would have anticipated.

Sometimes that’s just how it goes. There is only so much you can do when your time horizons for results are measured in a ten year cycle anyway.

It’s occasionally embarrassing to admit there are days I don’t have the energy to manage what what I eat, how much I exercise, whether I bath or do farm chores or otherwise manage the work of physical reality.

A few days of the month I do the absolute minimum to manage stasis and I honestly even that was a stretch. But like the classic Monty Python sketch of another era “I’m not dead yet!”

Categories
Emotional Work Homesteading Startups

Day 1191 and 90 Day Horizon

I feel like I’ve got a decent grip on the directions that have captivated markets and where the next decade of opportunities will emerge. My long term confidence on managing through chaos remains the same. Focus on resilience and adaptability.

I feel as if repeat myself constantly in the ways that I live this through my revealed preferences.

In more local “place” resilience we live on land we own land in Montana with our own well, water rights, and powering our energy needs off a large solar grid.

In broader macroeconomics terms, I invest in decentralized ecosystems like Bitcoin, open source software projects and compute exchanges. Hell, I was even the first check into a nuclear energy company last year. Energy and networks matter.

Yet I have no idea what I intend to do with my next couple of months or where I should even spend my time except “keep doing what you are already doing!”

I’ve come to some crossroads on my attention and the decisions I need to make in the short term feel challenging. I’ve never had more opportunities in front of me and it’s exhilarating. But I also don’t feel like it’s clear how to best allocate my attention in the very near short term.

But I also don’t have high confidence on what I should be cutting out or bringing to the forefront in the next 90 days or so. There is simply so much happening (and those effects are potentially existential) that it’s a struggle for me to say “fuck it we ball” to what’s in front of me. What ball? What am I saying fuck it to? Is it a fuck no or a fuck yes?

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1190 and Fantasy Family

“Do as I say not as I do”

The value of an involved family versus the value of an independent life are not being well reconciled for middle aged millennials and their aging Boomers parents. And it seems to be the source of much hurt.

The sadness of misaligned values

Fantasies of a good family life that the elder generations did not prioritize when parenting their own children are now cropping up everywhere in culture.

“Do what we want you to do not what we wanted to do”

Nowhere is this potent than on the topic of grandchildren. I’ve never had a a lowly reply go as viral as this one.

I understand how much it hurts to have family tell you they value something when they have acted completely contrary to that.

The biggest mismatch I’ve seen with my friends and their parents has been the hope that their parents would take grandparenting more seriously and being devastated when they simply don’t have any interest.

Now guilt & shame over past failures can be overwhelming as someone approaches the end of their time on this earth. Maybe the freedom at the end of life is more important than time with the next generation. Maybe those grandparents don’t want to be close to their grandchildren. Maybe they didn’t want closeness with their children in the first place. Or maybe some people only want relationships on their terms. I don’t know everyone’s personal values.

If a family didn’t live their values with their children when growing up then it’s hard to expect alignment on preferences that were never shown but only told.

I know it hurts to look at these issues in the face. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise millennials that not everyone in our parent’s generation wanted families and children. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise the elderly generation their values have to come with actions.

But coming to terms with failures in our own past is inevitable. And it’s wise to see them, own them and move on. I’ve now seen the values misalignments in every type of family. Married for 40 years, thrice divorced, mixed modern families, upper class, lower class, working class. All families have self deception on what they actually value versus what they say they value.

Families can claim something is important but don’t act like it. Acting like something is important makes all the difference. If you feel misalignment in your own relationships remember both parties have to change and find the relationship that they actually want.

Categories
Emotional Work

1189 and The Expense of Choice

One of my most American traits is how much I prioritize making my own choices. I am not contrarian for its own sake, but I prefer to freely align myself with what I value. I don’t make a secret of my revealed preferences and I am not afraid to associate with people who have different values.

We’ve had a lot more freedom of choice introduced into our lives during the Great Dislocation. Past narratives around family and work are beginning to feel more options. Paul Millard’s Pathless Path took off as work from home introduced significantly more flexibility into professional life.

Internet take-have Matthew Yglesia’s framed the problem of too much freedom around work as a Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor situation. Having a job that structures your life is a benevolent authoritarianism that people aren’t brave enough to admit they prefer.

I think this is a kind of snobbery that elites like to pretend is subversive. I’ve met many types of people from all kinds of classes, backgrounds, and competencies who thrive with more agency.

I am being exposed more often to people now who struggle to self regulate and take responsibility for their life but mostly I spend time with competent people.

This isn’t to say that structure is unimportant nor that work doesn’t provide some of it. I personally value routines and rhythms in my personal life because I’ve chosen to do more independent work outside of larger organizations. My work has to be held on course by my choices.

I won’t say it’s easy as none of my day to day choices matters in the same way that making the big yearly calls right does. I know I have to take the time to invest in myself so I can make those calls. I don’t have a wider organization setting the direction of my life or my day. So the only benevolent authoritarian is myself.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1188 and Existential Stability

I’d like you to consider that our current culture of safetyism is not trying to provide you with any actual safety but rather a pantomime of one. Security theater. And this is why we see whole generations of existentially insecure “adults” trapped looking for more signs of stability.

People aren’t really looking to be economically stable before they start families; they’re looking to be existentially stable.

Luke Burgis

Luke Burgis rightly reminds us that the only existential stability that exists is one in which you make decisions and take responsibility for the consequences.

Yes, sometimes consequences can be quite dire. No, you cannot put off making decisions until you have 100% certainty though I hear the restaurant at the end of the universe has a great drinks menu. Try the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

Douglas Adams “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” the sequel to The Hitchhikers’s Guide to The Galaxy.
Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1187 and No Joke

I don’t really care for April Fools. I can’t say I live in a time where I’m looking for additional cognitive overhead. And yet I am laughing all the time.

It feels a bit silly but sometimes I’ll just lose my shit laughing. Objectively funny things are happening as non-normalcy continues on. The Normie Restoration is upon us. And it’s just fucking funny.

If it feels impossible to pay attention as responsibilities mount then you already know you will cut back. Close the aperture. The return to living your own life. I’m sure they will enrage lots of people. Which is often the sign of a good joke.

Categories
Media

Day 1186 and Return To Non-Normalcy

I first sensed it when I picked up a copy of the Financial Times going through Heathrow in February. I was behind the news cycle. I read through the pink paper and felt informed.

Normally I wouldn’t be satisfied with just one news source. No matter how much I overweight my personal preferences to business papers I wouldn’t limit myself to just those publications.

But then I realized I had neither the time nor the patience to get up on the nuances of the day. I love the news business and even I felt weary about wading through the firehouse.

If a new hound like me who loves reading reactionaries of all stripes couldn’t do more than scan some financial numbers how did everyone else feel? Not good, not good at all.

The Normie Restoration

We are reaching a fascinating moment in history in which you can be shockingly well informed about almost anything in real time.

Naturally this means we “know” less than we ever did. I can read propaganda from every viewpoint straight from the source straight on Telegram chats. The most informed know they getting just a fraction of the story.

During the Great Dislocation (roughly 2019-2023 though many of us went into much earlier), there was a new openness to seeing beyond institutional consensus. We saw a flourishing of open condemnation of all forms of institutional knowledge and media was at the epicenter of much of that rage.

Many groups did not do well with the newfound power they had found in the hands of shifting alliances and new attention.

My theory is that the lunatic fringes of both the left & right have handled their digital powers poorly. As they did not handle the attention with care we will see a return to mass media preferences as people return to “non-normalcy.” Our trust has been spread too thin and too far and everyone has to tend to their own.

Who, or even what, ends up being the mass media substitute going forward ks not yet settled as the waning days of cable television & national papers will not disappear until the Boomers move on.

We are starting to realize little value is accrued by sourcing news from many sources as more competing narratives spin out to Cray Cray Land. Everyone has become audience captured. And not all audiences are equal. Not all voices are equal either.

People may think I’m insinuating that it’s about control or truth or ideological niche. I want to disabuse you of this notion. Media is about attention. People with different goals want your attention focused on what they think is important.

Anyone with responsibility has an attention limit. People with responsibilities are the people with power. They can’t manage with endless attention conflicts. They can and do resolve these conflicts on their attention all the time.

And many of them are about to resolve that by not paying attention. So you have to ask yourself if you think they are wrong. The new non-normal isn’t very forgiving of distraction.

Categories
Homesteading

1185 and Hobby Horses

It’s a lovely Saturday in Montana. The sun is shining which helps cut the otherwise brisk gusts of wind. It just seemed like a day to enjoy life.

Our dirt drive has finally dried out a bit so we went out for a walk to get some sun and check the potholes.

My husband and I went to town for some errands and stopped in for a burger at one of Montana’s unique liquor store, casino and bar combinations.

They are legacy of prohibition and overly involved governmental regulatory authorities. Montana has a government monopoly on all liquor stores.

For such a libertarian state, the alcohol laws seems a bit baffling. But one of the best burgers in town can be found at the bar inside the liquor store. It feel like any sports bar that leans towards country and western tunes. America is an amazing place.

Waiting on our burgers at the bar

And because we are also yuppies we went to get groceries at the local food cooperative of which we are members. My inner hippie loves getting her Dr Bronner from the bulk bins. We went a little overboard picking out some essential oils (Alex loves bergamot and I needed more lavender) and then ground of our not butters.

All the lentils and beans you could want

Having thoroughly covered the country and hippie portions of our day I came home to do some spring cleaning.

Moving from winter to warmer clothing isn’t my favorite seasonal shift. I prefer cozy cashmere and long sleeve black tee-shirts. But I have conferences and professional obligations coming up with travel so I tried out a new paid mobile application for closest organization and packing called Style Book.

I haven’t quire got the hang of it but the basic idea is to take photos of your wardrobe, tag it, organize it into outfits and packing lists and get more visibility into your wardrobe. I’ll have a to play with or more to get it polished but it seems like it has potential.

Categories
Media

Day 1184 and Discourse is Back but Sharded

The era of shared media narratives with simplistic framing and consensus seems gone. The information sphere is now like glass shards with many distinct realities according to Axios.

I think we have many more than twelve realities as class, politics, identity and material concerns overlap. The Internet has allowed all of us to develop esoteric and idiosyncratic knowledge. More types of reality are coming into contact with each other.

Because power laws drive the internet sometimes it seems like everyone is paying attention to the same thing all at once. We get crazily intensified reactions. People go absolutely bonkers over morality plays.

It was impressive to me to see New York Magazine create two intensely viral shared discourse moments in one week with their Dr. Huberman “scandal” and “the equally explosive “Age Gap Marry Rich” essay.

Being curious I looked up the editorial team and found it was journalists I recognized from my time in beauty and fashion. There was recipe for inducing cultural virality discovered by Teen Vogue in leaning into what is loosely call identity lifestyle. You experience culture like fashion or makeup through very specific symbols of interconnected identities. For some reason lifestyle choices makes people really crazy. It seems Lindsay Peoples the editor is a generational talent at evoking response.

The Cut’s new masthead changed from 2022