Aug 18 • 4M

🌲Why We Need to Remember to Listen to Nature and the World Around Us🌲

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🔥Welcome to Volume #00092!🔥

I’m Christian Champ. This is ☯️The Middle Way Newsletter ☯️. It is a place where I write, explore, share, and invite you along for the journey.

If you enjoy the newsletter, please share it with your friends.


🌲Why We Need to Remember to Listen to Nature and the World Around Us 🌲

I felt the ladder shimmy back and forth ever so slightly.

My other hand held on to a skinny tree branch, enough to attempt to steady myself and not let me fall.

Standing on top of a ladder never feels great.

The critical hand, well beyond the one not letting myself fall, did the essential work.

It grasped for a fresh, beautiful green pear.

I grabbed the pear and dropped it into my pocket, reaching for the next one.

Every August, this dance takes place. The pears start to fall, providing nourishment and reminding us that summer is ending.

The pears ripen right around Lollapoolza weekend. We get a blast of 90-degree weather in Chicago, the pears begin to fall, and it's time to pick.

The backyard becomes a collection of bees, butterflies, and flies if we don't quickly grab the fallen pears.

It took us six months to realize our yard contained a pear tree. Year one of home ownership taught us to climb the ladder and pick the pears before they smash into the ground. That first year we waited to pick them, leading to a mess of rats, cats, flies, and bees.

We struggled with all the pears and felt annoyed at collecting the fallen pears. This led to a debate about cutting the tree down.

It pains me that the first thought that rushed through my head was to chop the tree down and not deal with the pears.

I forgot my youth.

My grandparents lived down the street from me and had a pear tree and two apple trees. We picked a lot of pears and apples, ending up with buckets full of them. My grandmother canned the pears, and we had pears year-round.

Had I gotten that soft?

The first idea became the worst idea, but how often do we pick the easier road? It's always easy to remove the pain point, but is that the right decision?

We kept the tree leading to an annual ritual of picking and sharing the pears with our friends and neighbors. The kids even turned it into an enterprise this year and sold pears at the park. They cleared an excellent $40.

It makes one wonder what other gifts are right in front of us that we want to chop down or eradicate from our lives. What minimal burdens do we run into and not want to deal with, forgetting the joy that a little effort creates?

What other traditions and rituals are right in front of us, and we fail to hear their call? What other gifts are we thinking about chopping, or have we already chopped down?

We need to remember to listen to and keep our pear trees.


📓Things to Think About📓

Scott Alexander wrote a piece on A Cyclical Theory of Subcultures

He breaks down the cycles of growth for subcultures and then decays as status opportunities decline.

Jumping in and out of different subcultures is a great way to learn about ourselves and others. When we are early, that ascension phase feels great for the early adopters, and anything seems possible. Everyone joining gets a status jolt.

When we show up late, we see things get stale and institutionalized. The status all got squeezed from the orange.

The cyclical phases go from precycle to growth to involution (stagnation) to post-cycle.

In a normal karate class, status gain is too slow to be worth worrying about. But in a rapidly growing subculture, people catch on fast. This is the secret behind the first two modes of growth. Status within a subculture is zero-sum. You can’t make everyone high-status at the same time. But you can have everyone at time T reasonably expect to be high status at time T+1, after a bunch of new people have joined and the older generation has become Wise Elders and Founding Heroes.

The involution phase involves the part where growth peters out and things fragment.

In other situations, everyone would lower their expectations and be fine. But the subculture is used to being a status Ponzi scheme. This is the stage where the last tier joins the pyramid, realizes that there won’t be a tier below them, and feels betrayed.

During this phase, a talented status-hungry young person who joins the movement is likely to expect status but not get it. The frontier is closed; there’s no virgin territory to go homesteading in. The only source of status is to seize someone else’s - ie to start a fight.

Post-cycle means the movement gets institutionalized or returns to a precycle phase.

Other times, the movement just becomes so uncool for so long that it returns to Phase 1. There aren’t a lot of stained glass artisans or Thomist philosophers anymore. But I expect that being a stained glass artisan or Thomist philosopher is an okay job. You might not make much money, but you can have fun exploring your chosen medium in a nerdy way.

Rebecca Fox offers a Ritual for Sitting with Fear

Here is how the ritual starts.

Contemplate how you usually respond to fear. Do you run, fight, or freeze? Running often looks like avoidance or distraction. Fighting often manifests as irritability, anger or straight up starting fights. Freezing feels like shutting down, numbness and dissociation.

Set a timer for three minutes and write down your fear. Don’t stop writing until the time elapses, if you run out of words just write nonsense, or repeat yourself.


🎧Things to Listen, See, and Watch 🎧

👆Click on the link above for the thread.

Shreyas Doshi - Making of a Great Leader on the Infinite Loops Podcast

  • Owner mindset is what we want to have and find in our co-workers

  • Operating like an owner is like being an owner, and you retain maximum agency

  • We can do three things with our time —> 1. elongate it (work more hours), 2. save it (increase our efficiency), or 3. leverage it (work on stuff that matters the most)

  • LNO Framework for tasks —> Leverage, Neutral, Overhead and he use it to name each task on his to-do list

    • Because he is a perfectionist, he actively had to be ok doing a less than perfect job on N and O tasks (which you still will do well anyway b/c of the task)

    • The goal is to attack the type of task with the quality and quantity of time that it requires, thereby freeing up time for L tasks

  • Antithesis principle - “people say that people will form an impression of you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. And so, again, I don't know whether or not that's true, but for the sake of discussion, let's assume that within the first seven seconds of meeting you, people form a solid impression of who you are. Let's assume that's true now. What are we to take away from this? One of my observations is that when we encounter a statement or a hypothesis, the foolish one will likely learn nothing from it, the smart one will learn one thing from it, and the wise one will actually learn two things. Let's put it in practice here. Foolish one will likely not really change anything or address anything when they hear about this, about the first seven seconds. If you're smart, then you will say, "Okay, in order to be effective, I should consciously try to create a good first impression on other people." That's the obvious conclusion, I'm smart, so I'm going to try to create a good first impression on other people. But that's where most people stop. It's interesting to observe that actually, there is one more conclusion we need to make from this, which is we should not be a person who forms a fixed impression of somebody based on the first seven seconds. That's the non-obvious conclusion. That's what the wise one will also conclude and absorb.”

  • Don’t be a label thinker -“Because for the most part, unfortunately, people are label thinkers. They default to whatever your base programming is. I have tried to contribute with things like the thinker and the prover and a whole variety of trying to get people to understand that we live in a probabilistic world and it's neither yes or no. I always joke that between a yes and a no, there's always a huge maybe. Having that default as your worldview can be very helpful to you.”

  • Apple Pie Positions - When everyone says things in a meeting to look and seem smart. We’ve all seen this in action, and it is a killer

    • Now that's a conversation between you and me. Now let's add a third person into the mix, and let's say there were 10 other people listening, including some really important people at the company. This third person if this third person wanted to sound very smart, they can ask a very simple question, which is, do you have any data to support that? That's it. Now, all of a sudden by asking that question and stating those few words, this third person has elevated themselves in the eyes of the group. And all of this happens under the surface, we are not even aware that this is going on. In fact, you and I will feel a little stupid that we don't have a bulletproof answer readily available for this question. So it affects everybody, everybody concerned. That is an apple pie position. The reason it's an apple pie position is, I'm not saying data is bad, but I'm saying that oftentimes these questions that are essentially aimed as making us look smart and seem smart are unnecessary. In fact, if we address them, we might be harming the mission, then helping it.

    • Because the moment it's sanctioned part of your shared vocabulary, it all of a sudden reduces that embarrassment and reduces the fear of pushing back on an apple pie position. Then we can discuss, is it really an apple pie position? Because I didn't say it is an apple pie position, I said it sounds to me like an apple pie position, so perhaps we can talk about it. Perhaps we don't need metrics here, because it is not such a substantial decision and trying to collect metrics for something that is just inherently hard is just going to create more onerous process and basically more work for us.

  • Tao Te Ching —I brought it up, just so I could just share it with the listeners. It says, "Unworthy leaders are despised. Common leaders are feared by their subjects. Good leaders win the affection and praise of their subjects," or you can say people. Substitute subjects with people. But here's the most profound part, which is, "But when great leaders lead, the people are hardly aware of their existence."


💣Words of Wisdom💣

"I suspect I have spent just about exactly as much time actually writing as the average person my age has spent watching television, and that, as much as anything, may be the real secret here." (William Gibson, Distrust That Particular Flavor)

"Consumers have a similar instinct – we would rather make a suboptimal decision in company than a perfect decision alone." (Rory Sutherland, Alchemy)

"One of the aims of this program is to get you tapped 10,000 times. If you can achieve this then I promise you that you will be an A1 Jiu Jitsu player – and probably a Black Belt. The trick is staying in the game long enough to get tapped 10K times." (Oliver Staark)

"Despite a lack of natural ability, I did have the one element necessary to all early creativity: naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do." (Steve Martin, Born Standing Up)

"Why do some keep questioning, while others stop? (Was it something in the genes, in the schools, in the parenting?)" (Warren Berger, A More Beautiful Question)

"It is no accident that the average age at these gatherings is about forty-no accident because the "midlife crisis" represents another period of initiation, when all the smoldering issues of previous life stages as well as those of the present are ignited." (Michael Meade)

"And they taught me that, as they once wrote, “for small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” (Sasha Sagan, For Small Creatures Such as We)

"Walking in walking meditation is walking just to enjoy walking. You don’t have any desire to arrive anywhere. Walking and not arriving, that is the technique." (Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus)

"What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don’t, quit." (David Bayles, Ted Orland, Art & Fear)

"Our increasing ability to manipulate the world does indeed appear somehow connected with its loss of meaning for us. Why? And does it even matter?" (Iain McGilchrist, The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning)

"The dream is your project, your vision, your symphony, your startup. The love is the passion and enthusiasm that fill your heart when you envision your project’s completion." (Steven Pressfield, Do the Work)

As in music and comedy, the most sublime moments of artistry are often achieved when you judge the onset of boredom just right, and insert a smart disruption of tempo that takes advantage of the latent energy of boredom to create momentum." (Venkatesh Rao, Tempo)

“As we grow older, we become more rooted in the past. Habit takes over. Something that has worked for us before becomes a doctrine, a shell to protect us from reality. Repetition replaces creativity." (Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War)


🙏Thanks for Reading🙏

What gifts are right in front of us and we fail to see them?

Any thoughts or comments, please share!

Namaste,

Christian

I think we did this one wrong 👇👇👇👇 from Burning Man 2018