Issue #395


It's good to be back after taking August off. There have been some changes around here that you might want to read up on. Basically, this Thought Shrapnel is going to live up to the tagline of being "a stream of things going in and out of the brain of Doug Belshaw". So, a bit more random.

That comes with other changes, including no more Patreon supporters. I've already been in touch to thank them, but now that they're merged with this main list I'd like to thank them for their support over the last couple of years. It's meant a lot.

You may like this new approach, which will evolve with me. You may not. At any time, including right now, you should always feel empowered to follow the virtual 'law of two feet' and unsubscribe. I won't be offended. I'm always surprised anyone reads my stuff, to be honest...

On my personal blog this week I published:
I hope you're well, and remember you can hit reply and talk to me anytime :)

The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit of doing them

Car with suitcases strapped to roof and arm out of the window waving goodbye
👋 Oliver Burkeman's last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life

😇 How to be indistractable

💃 One, two, free! 25 brilliant ways to escape 2020’s groundhog days

🛀 Why efficiency is dangerous and slowing down makes life better

🤔 ten recent thoughts

Quotation-as-title by Benjamin Jowett. Image from top linked post.

Perfectionism is more toxic than you imagine

As someone who struggles with perfectionism on a daily basis, I needed to read this morning:
Perfectionism is more toxic than you imagine. Watch yourself and notice how often you’re being a perfectionist without even realising it. And see how it chips away at your happiness.
Rebecca Toh, ten recent thoughts

The other thoughts in the list are also worth reflecting on, especially the one about writing being the medium of learning.

Rethinking human responses to adversity

As a parent and former teacher I can get behind this:
ADHD is not a disorder, the study authors argue. Rather it is an evolutionary mismatch to the modern learning environment we have constructed. Edward Hagen, professor of evolutionary anthropology at Washington State University and co-author of the study, pointed out in a press release that “there is little in our evolutionary history that accounts for children sitting at desks quietly while watching a teacher do math equations at a board.”
Alison Escalante, What If Certain Mental Disorders Are Not Disorders At All?, Psychology Today

This is a great article based on a journal article about PTSD, depression, anxiety, and ADHD. As someone who has suffered from depression in the past, and still deals with anxiety, I absolutely think it has an important situational aspect.

That is to say, instead of just medicating people, we need to be thinking about their context.
he stated goal of the paper is not to suddenly change treatments, but to explore new ways of studying these problems. “Research on depression, anxiety, and PTSD, should put greater emphasis on mitigating conflict and adversity and less on manipulating brain chemistry.”
Alison Escalante, What If Certain Mental Disorders Are Not Disorders At All?, Psychology Today

85 megapixel photo of the moon


/via ajamesmccarthy on Reddit

Pandemic-induced awkwardness

By this point in the year, I would have travelled away from my home office at least once per month to see real, live 3D human beings who aren't other members of my family.
Even if you are ensconced in a pandemic pod with a romantic partner or family members, you can still feel lonely — often camouflaged as sadness, irritability, anger and lethargy — because you’re not getting the full range of human interactions that you need, almost like not eating a balanced diet. We underestimate how much we benefit from casual camaraderie at the office, gym, choir practice or art class, not to mention spontaneous exchanges with strangers.
Kate Murphy, We’re All Socially Awkward Now, The New York Times

As the author points out, our skills can atrophy just like muscles if we don't use them, and interacting via screens is often quite different to interacting offline.

What man of energy does not find inactivity a punishment?

Base reality as it truly exists vs as presented to mind
🤯 Understanding Consciousness with Color-Coded Cartoons

👍 Four-day working week could create 500K new jobs in UK, study says

💀 The World Memorial to the Pandemic

🤩 Going all-in on remote work: The technical and cultural changes

🎲 How to Add More Play to Your Grown-Up Life, Even Now

Quotation-as-title from Seneca. Image from top linked post.

Until next week!

Dr. Doug Belshaw is an Open Thinkerer, currently working with We Are Open Co-op to improve our world.

You can connect with Doug by replying to this email, or via LinkedIn and Mastodon. Use the hashtag #thoughtshrapnel

Does anyone read this bit down here which starts "Some say..."? I'm thinking of removing it...
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