Tag: life lessons

Lifequakes

One way of thinking about the pandemic is as inevitable, and just one of a series of life-changing events that will happen to you during your time on earth.

Whereas some people seem to think that life should be trouble- and pain-free, it’s clear by even a cursory glance at history that this an impossible expectation.

This article is a useful one for reframing the pandemic as a change that we’re literally all going through together, but which will affect us differently:

Transitions feel like an abnormal disruption to life, but in fact they are a predictable and integral part of it. While each change may be novel, major life transitions happen with clocklike regularity. Life is one long string of them, in fact. The author Bruce Feiler wrote a book called Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age. After interviewing hundreds of people about their transitions, he found that a major change in life occurs, on average, every 12 to 18 months. Huge ones—what Feiler calls “lifequakes”—happen three to five times in each person’s life. Some lifequakes are voluntary and joyful, such as getting married or having a child. Others are involuntary and unwelcome, such as unemployment or life-threatening illness.

Arthur C. Brooks, The Clocklike Regularity of Major Life Changes (The Atlantic)

Geek social fallacies

I came across this via a chain of links that took me down a rabbithole. I’m pretty sure it started with an article referenced on Hacker News, but I’m not sure.

In any case, I thought it was pretty interesting. Basically someone who self-identifies as a geek giving other geeks some advice. Having said that, it’s probably applicable more widely than that, particularly among men.

Here’s a taste:

Within the constellation of allied hobbies and subcultures collectively known as geekdom, one finds many social groups bent under a crushing burden of dysfunction, social drama, and general interpersonal wack-ness. It is my opinion that many of these never-ending crises are sparked off by an assortment of pernicious social fallacies — ideas about human interaction which spur their holders to do terrible and stupid things to themselves and to each other.

There’s a list of five such fallacies, my favourite being:

Geek Social Fallacy #4: Friendship Is Transitive

Every carrier of GSF4 has, at some point, said:

“Wouldn’t it be great to get all my groups of friends into one place for one big happy party?!”

If you groaned at that last paragraph, you may be a recovering GSF4 carrier.

GSF4 is the belief that any two of your friends ought to be friends with each other, and if they’re not, something is Very Wrong.

The milder form of GSF4 merely prevents the carrier from perceiving evidence to contradict it; a carrier will refuse to comprehend that two of their friends (or two groups of friends) don’t much care for each other, and will continue to try to bring them together at social events. They may even maintain that a full-scale vendetta is just a misunderstanding between friends that could easily be resolved if the principals would just sit down to talk it out.

A more serious form of GSF4 becomes another “friendship test” fallacy: if you have a friend A, and a friend B, but A & B are not friends, then one of them must not really be your friend at all. It is surprisingly common for a carrier, when faced with two friends who don’t get along, to simply drop one of them.

On the other side of the equation, a carrier who doesn’t like a friend of a friend will often get very passive-aggressive and covertly hostile to the friend of a friend, while vigorously maintaining that we’re one big happy family and everyone is friends.

GSF4 can also lead carriers to make inappropriate requests of people they barely know — asking a friend’s roommate’s ex if they can crash on their couch, asking a college acquaintance from eight years ago for a letter of recommendation at their workplace, and so on. If something is appropriate to ask of a friend, it’s appropriate to ask of a friend of a friend.

Arguably, Friendster was designed by a GSF4 carrier.

Hilarious and insightful at the same time.

Source: Plausibly Deniable

Nobody likes a goody two-shoes

This is an incredible entry in the School of Life’s Book of Life:

The sickness of the good child is that they have no experience of other people being able to tolerate their badness. They have missed out a vital privilege accorded to the healthy child; that of being able to display envious, greedy, egomaniacal sides and yet be tolerated and loved nevertheless.

I know, and have know, plenty of people who are amazing exam-takers and are fantastic at doing what society expects of them. Unfortunately, that’s not a great preparation for when life throws you curveballs.

At work, the good adult has problems too. As a child, they follow the rules; never make trouble and take care not to annoy anyone. But following the rules won’t get you very far in adult life. Almost everything that’s interesting, worth doing or important will meet with a degree of opposition. A brilliant idea will always disappoint certain people – and yet very much be worth holding on to. The good child is condemned to career mediocrity and sterile people-pleasing.

As a parent of two strong-willed and feisty children, there’s plenty to ponder here.

Source: The Book of Life

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