#7.06 Gift or debt?

Hello Amazing!
While I was on summer vacation with my wife and our kids, I would often take the kids in the morning and let my wife sleep in. We called this “the gift of sleep” and it’s a gift she really enjoys. However, there were days were I was so exhausted myself that I couldn’t really afford to give this gift. I needed sleep too. But I tried to give it anyway, and failing to be honest with myself, I didn’t realize that I would expect her to reciprocate. Suddenly the “gift” of sleep had become a debt. She owed me. Obviously this didn’t work well. Now, I try to remember that generosity is great, but that I shouldn’t give something if I can’t afford to really give it. Nobody wants a debt. Have you ever done this? Or been the recipient?
With much love

— Mathias

#7.05 Shit and Diamonds

Hello Amazing!
In some ways it’s almost so obvious that it’s not worth saying: if you want high quality output you need a combination of creative output and a good editor who can filter the shit from the diamonds. Yet, because it feels so obvious I also tend to forget and I need to remind myself again and again. Today I realized that I hadn’t written a newsletter for more than two months. In my desire to improve the quality of my work I had stepped up my inner editor to a point where I couldn’t produce any output at all, and while I’m still interested in increasing quality and becoming a better editor, I’m not willing to do so at the cost of all output. So today I am sharing a first draft. Maybe it’s a diamond. Maybe it’s just shit. Either way: I wanted to do something.
Perhaps you need a reminder too?
With much love

— Mathias

#7.04 Projecting into the future

Hello Amazing! I think that we humans are always trying to understand. We look around us and we try to figure out how the world works. Because if we understand it correctly, we might begin to predict (at least with some probability) what might happen in the future. Unfortunately, some of us are sometimes too quick to jump to conclusions which are only partially true. For example, I find that a linear understanding is particularly seductive. We think that learning happens in linear, additive manner (Economics 101, 201, 301 etc.), that they build their endurance for long-distance running linearly, that the path to enlightenment is a series of sequential steps. The risk is that we miss cyclical, seasonal and other non-linear patterns.
The image is further distorted if we also begin to conflate our ability to predict with an ability to control. If we set higher ‘targets’ (for sales, people growth, test scores, GDP..) we think that the flowers will grow faster. But that will be for another day.

With much love

— Mathias

#7.03 Replaced by robots

Hello Amazing! How good do you feel you are in doing your job? Do you feel that you know what you are doing and how it all works or is it more messy? When it comes to automating work using Machine Learning it’s the tasks that have the most clearly defined (or definable) inputs and outputs that will be automated first. So if your job feels really really really messy, it’s probably because it’s harder to automate.

With much love

— Mathias

#7.02 — Manage your ambition

Hello Amazing! In order to achieve anything, we have to set high standards for ourselves. However, for many of us this leads to a sense of inadequacy, because we are not able to meet those high standards. It’s tempting to lower our standards and in some situations, it might be the best thing, especially if it’s something that’s just not very important for us. But for the stuff that matters most, the real trick is to add time. To be patient and persistent. Sometimes radically so. For the most daunting quests I recommend thinking across multiple lifetimes.

With much love

— Mathias

#7.01 — Stay or quit?

Hello Amazing! If you are in a relationship, a job, a marriage, a city or something else, and it doesn’t feel right, how do you know if it’s best to stay and try to fix it or to leave and go elsewhere? I think it’s easy to be seduced by the idea that something look good on paper (“the job pays well”, “the city is full of opportunity”). It’s also easy to look at something and only see what’s missing. What might be best is to look for the roots. The deep essentials. What do you think? Have you mistakenly left something that actually had roots? Or are you stuck in something that sounds great, but doesn’t have roots?

With much love

— Mathias