Do what resonates.
Memories are our own. Resisting short form content.
Welcome to Ideothetic Flow, my newsletter sharing my reflections on finding balance, sufficiency, and security.
If this resonates, do subscribe so we can stay connected. I post every 4 weeks.
I had a rare day last week where most of the day was spent with just Joy and I at home. Its been some time since I last did this and it was good to have that relaxed bonding time. I sometimes forget to notice how much she’s grown up this year.
While we had lunch, I was telling her about her routines as a baby, and the strange things she used to make me do. We used to have to go round the house saying good night to everything, even the eggs in the fridge, before she would agree to try and sleep.
She didn’t remember any of them though. All these happened before she was able to form tangible memories. I found it interesting that even though they revolve around her, those memories only exist within me.
We are made of our memories. This memory seems trivial, but its become even more precious now that its unique to me, and will disappear with me. This made me think about how, even when it seems like we are doing things for others, we keep the memories for ourselves and they form part of us.
In a world where external recognition and quantifiable results are everything, its easy to miss out that with the smallest or most frivolous experiences, I am still growing and changing in some way. Everything I experience is a part of me. Our lives are defined by our memories of those experiences, not in outcomes or credit.
Do what resonates.
As I grapple with the reduced freedom of parenting 2 kids, and acceptance of the limited time available in this mortal life, I’ve been trying to let my actions be guided more by what feels right for me in the moment, rather than some kind of productivity system.
I think that there are things that we naturally will resonate with, things that catch our interest or get us obsessed. I am trying to follow that resonance and do what my soul wants.
As I look at my pile of abandoned projects and reading/watching lists, I realise that these often things that I wanted to do because they were important to the outside world. It was often some article I felt was useful to read for work in future, a skill that would benefit my career, or doing something to build my portfolio. These came about from thinking about who I am not, and trying to cover up those flaws, rather than who I am. They are left undone because, without resonance, I don’t have the drive to get it done.
The things that do resonate? The things which form part of my identity? I don’t need a to-do list or system to remind me to get started on them. I will obsess about them all the time and get started the first chance I get. I’ve cleared out the backlog of things I feel I “should” be doing. Things to read that are supposed to be useful, projects that sound impressive.
A part of this is to stop thinking about what I am not. If others are more successful than me, if someone knows more than me about a topic or has a skill I don’t have, that’s great for them. I don’t need to keep up. Instead, I want to lean into who I am, and let my inner self decide.
Resisting short form content.
One challenge I’ve been having recently is resisting the lure on short form content. Things like IG Reels or Youtube Shorts that social media platforms have all moved towards. The only silver lining is that I have managed to avoid downloading Tiktok for now.
Content in short bursts are particularly alluring for a parent with pockets of uncertain downtime. Its often too short to start anything more substantial, or I have too little energy and want to do something relatively mindless. It was too easy to fall into the trap of habitually opening one of these apps whenever nothing is happening.
The trouble is that content in this form is often only mildly entertaining or useful, just enough to leave me unsatiated and wanting more, and spending longer than I need down the feed. Watching a short clip, a highlight from a larger show, or some training tip, is not a good substitute for immersing in something deeper.
What I often forget is that immersing in a seemingly boring reality is better than artificial content, which has likely been staged and curated to steal my attention. I’m thus working to break this habit, and be comfortable watching a finite reality, over an infinite digital world.
A nice reflection about how to face difficulty, whether our own or others.
Find your intersection of passion and skill.
Find what is undervalued in that area and focus on that.
After finding these, you need a community. Humans are still social creatures. A champion must have a team to train him. Find that tribe of competent and trustworthy people.
The right bandwidth for error in learning new skills.
I was thinking about this while reading this article about learning new physical skills. Some strategies they share for learning faster is to have a sufficiently wide bandwidth for error, and delaying feedback to the right time. This leads to better development and retention of the skill.
As an example they share, we can’t learn to ride a bike if our parents don’t take the training wheels off and constantly hover around and shout instructions. But, if they were to do nothing, we would likely fall and get hurt.
I found this interesting from my position as a professional who manages around risks. Its tempting to want to control everything to be perfectly safe, but without leaving some margin for error, it would be difficult to do new and exciting things.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts, start a conversation, or simply connect over a chat. You can reply this email, leave a comment, or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you enjoyed reading this and would like to support my writing, do subscribe or share this with a friend.
Take care and have a good week!