Week 26, 2024

Week 26, 2024

Week 26 of 2024 has arrived. "Half way there, Half way there!"... but where exactly... One of the background artifacts that results from our linear experience of time is the sense that is it leading to something.  But what?  What could possibly be more important than the only thing you can ever hold, which is right now?

My brain is a junk closet jumble of other people's thoughts on mindfulness, personal development, life optimization, and hustle culture, so I am not sure if I am making any sense outside of the damp dark cave that is my skull, but there is no "there". There is only "here" and if we are lucky, some more "here's" to come.

Time to walk over to your 4K Weeks poster and fill in another square.  Done?

I had to go get an x-ray of my foot this week, and while I was sitting in the waiting room, I noticed a 6 or 7-year-old boy sitting next to his mother.  He noticed me notice him, and gave me an anxious, cautious look.

A few minutes later, the nurse called my name and his name, and said she could take all of us back at once. We sat in the x-ray waiting room for a minute, and I could feel their anxiety, and he kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye. (I am a giant compared to a 7-year-old, bald and bearded...conspicuous.) So I piped up and said "I have to get an x-ray of my foot!" and mom said "he has to get an x-ray of his chest." Right then the x-ray tech called them in, and I looked at him confidently and said "Good luck!"

Five minutes later they came out of the room, and I said "You made it!" and he broke into a HUGE smile.

There is no instant of being a positive role model that is too small to matter.

None of us are building from scratch; we are scavengers, building from what we find.

All I am is an idea of a man, made from the blueprints of all the role models, good and bad, that I have had and built with what I could cobble together from the raw materials the universe gave me.

Take seriously how important it is to model the future you want in younger people.

I want a future full of kind, patient, competent, strong, happy, open-minded, non-judgmental strivers, who recognize every moment as a miracle. I am not much interested in anything else from them... If we get those things right the world will improve. So that is the example I am striving to set.

Enjoy the email this week.  I appreciate you being here... I really do.

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Remarkable Weeks

Week  26 of 1990, Salman Rushdie contributed $8,600 to help Iran's earthquake victims despite being condemned to death by Iran for his controversial novel, "The Satanic Verses." He was 2,244.869 weeks old (43.05 yrs). 

Week  26 of 1997, J.K. Rowling gets the first book in the best-selling Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, published. She was 1,664.71 weeks old (31.92 yrs).

Week  26 of 2019, Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away topped the box office in China, 18 years after its original release. He was 4,094.43 weeks old (78.52 yrs).

This Week's Quote

We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once. -Calvin Coolidge

I feel this on 2 levels...

#1 from a productivity perspective:





Success... I am terrible at this... I am constantly trying to do lots of things at once. On the rare occasions that I have cleared the decks and only tackled one project, it has been much better.

#2  Starfishes.

What I am Consuming This Week

The Last Question, Isaac Asimov In light of the fact that AI is rapidly changing the world, and the fact that this email is largely about opening our minds, and increasing our understanding and connection with the world, I thought I would mention this short story.  Published in 1956.  Ahead of its time is an understatement.

"The See App" My Physical Therapist, Dr. Tim Cummings of Restore/Thrive recommended this meditation app to me... I like it... I think.  I haven't had much success with Headspace, etc... But this Attentional Awareness seems interesting...  I think I can give out a couple of 1 month guest passes... email me if you want one, and if I still have any to give, you've got it.

Cautionary Tales: "The Revenge of the Whales".  Fascinating... made me want to read the 1821 book by Owen Chase.

The Economics of Everyday Things: "Little League". It seems like everything gets ruined as the country matures... It's the biggering of everyday life.

The Daily: "How to Retire as Early as Humanly Possible".  F.I.R.E is interesting... but productivity is growth... I guess as long as you don't become the idle rich when you retire at 30, I am ok with it... but if your goal is to become so rich that you can lay on a boat drinking cocktails 24/7/365, I would rather you stay stuck in your dead end job. Truth.

The Daily: "A Novel Legal Strategy for Mass Shooting Victims' Families". It is just so strange to me that a product in the US regularly kills or maims, the company who made that product will be held liable... unless it is a gun. Thanks to a 2005 law that gives gun manufacturers immunity that no other industry has. I know some of you disagree with me... 

Rich Roll, "Sam Harris, On Consciousness, Meditation, Misinformation, and What Ails the Modern World".  This is one of the best podcasts that I have listened to in a while. And I say that while holding Sam Harris at arms length in a bear hug...

What I am Thinking About This Week

"Are we lucky or what!?"

My wife was listening to The Wiser Than Me Podcast with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Her guest was Julie Andrews, one of our home's patron saints.  Apparently, this is something Julie Andrews says a lot, in good times or bad.

It also happens to be one of my favorite ways to take the edge off a sucky situation.  I often say "How lucky are we!?" I even shoehorned a "We are SO lucky!" into the beginning of my dad's eulogy.

Look, I'm no Pollyanna.  I know that a good chunk of the world is crappy and getting crappier.  You do no one a favor by being one of the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity.

Because it is also true that YOU ARE SO LUCKY!  In spite of it all... hell, maybe because of it all.

When I was in my early 20's I wanted to be a rock star SO BAD.  I am so lucky that dream didn't come true. Amor Fati

I think this is in Epictetus' Enchiridion... I am paraphrasing..."It's hard to imagine a man whose situation could not get worse.  Does he have only a loin cloth? He could lose the loin cloth." 

And if he focuses on how lucky he is to have a loin cloth, he might be happier than that 50-year-old multi-millionaire in a Ferrari.

You certainly have more than just a loin cloth. If you can get into the habit of noticing how awesome your life is, I guarantee it will improve. Even if all your standard metrics for success stay the same.  

You should strive to improve your situation, and you should strive to improve other people's situations, and you will be 1000% more effective at doing that if you can remember that the glass isn't half full... it's nearly overflowing.

Are we lucky or what! (Best said with a Mary Poppins accent.)

Until Later,

Spencer, Owner of 4KWeeks.com

Dad Joke O' The Week

Where do rainbows go when they've been bad?

To prism, so they have time to reflect on what they've done.

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