Week 47 of 2023 has arrived. The avalanche of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales emails has begun. If I could pile them up in the backyard, they would be bigger than the pile of leaves.... and less useful and less welcome. It gets exhausting feeling like a slot machine for large corporate interests. (Do any of you run small businesses that have product offerings that make great gifts? Email the info to me and we might feature you in an upcoming newsletter.)
Time to walk over to your 4K Weeks poster and fill in another square. Done?
No Black Friday or Cyber Monday Messages from us other than this: If you want to make a purchase, email me and I'll get you a discount. I appreciate the fact that you all are along on this journey with me.
To those of you in the US, happy Thanksgiving! I hope you feel loved and appreciated, and have a few belly laughs with the people you share the day with.
To those of you outside the US, happy November 23rd! I hope you feel loved and appreciated, and have a few belly laughs with the people you share the day with.
Thanks for being here and reading! These blogs help me "Sharpen The Saw" and hopefully help you to sharpen yours!
Week 47 in 1963, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, is assassinated in Dallas, Texas. He was 2425.43 weeks old (46.51 yrs).
Week 47 of 1983, Fred Rogers, of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, presents one of his sweaters to the Smithsonian Institution. He was 2957.29 weeks old (56.71 yrs). "Let's make the most of this beautiful day."
Week 47, of 2009, Susan Boyle, contestant on Britain's Got Talent, releases her debut album, which will go on to become the biggest selling album worldwide that year. (I remember seeing her audition... it was so sweet, and for a minute if felt like anyone could do anything.) She was 2538.14 weeks old (48.27 yrs).
This Week's Quote
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. -Aesop
I forget where I heard a different version of this... "Whenever you find yourself having a generous impulse, act on it immediately."
We are all so caught up in internal and external rules of social etiquette, that it is easy not to act when you see a stranger who could use some form of human connection. "I don't want to assume...", " I don't want to embarrass them..." ,"I don''t want to get involved in their business."...
And, on top of that...
This time of year, nearly everyone is in a hurry. A hurry to get to the grocery store, a hurry to get the work done before the holiday, a hurry to get the lights on the house, a hurry to do myriad things that will "make the season special".
Acknowledging the rush is important because of this: The Princeton Seminary Experiment. Cliffs Notes: People in a hurry, even when they are hurrying to give a lecture on the Good Samaritan, are much less likely to stop and help someone clearly in need.
So, maybe make a rule for yourself for the rest of this year... if your little voice says "You should...(something generous)" Just do it, damn the torpedoes and the schedules.
What I am Consuming This Week
The Ezra Klein Show, "The Sermons I Needed to Hear Right Now". This is one of the best podcasts I have heard in awhile. I think everyone should listen to it. Rabbi Brous: "I don't frankly want to hear from the people in the streets who are shouting about decolonizing Palestine, who do not shed a tear when Vivian Silver, a 74 year old warrior for peace is murdered by Hamas... and the same is true on the other side, for the people who are absolutely devistated by losses to Jews but then feel it's offensive to even report on the Palestinian children who are dying in Gaza, I'm sorry, but we have lost our moral center. What we have to do is expand our scope of moral concern to find the humanity in one another again."
Freakonomics Radio, "Are Private Equity Firms Plundering the U.S. Economy?" Whether or not Capitalism is "good" or "bad" in any moment largely has to do with the incentives and regulations. There is no question the revolving door from government to boardrooms is bad for the republic.
Revisionist History, "This is Your Captain Speaking". What constitutes authority?
The Dream. All of them... still listening and digesting these...
3 Books, Neil Pasricha "This Book Teaches Us Why We Get Fat". Gretchen Rubin shares a story about a book she found... This is basically how I lost 27 lbs from January to April, and went from 26% body fat to 18%. (You wouldn't have looked at me and thought I needed to lose weight.) A "normal" US diet isn't normal.
Insta Nuggets: I have been trying to boil these down to good content that pushes you forward... but sometimes a hysterical meme will sneak through...
- Chris Voss's book, Never Split the Difference is great.
- I need to make one of these.
- I'm not sure how I feel about this...
- This is spectacular on a few levels. "What's up Doc?"
No one sent me any last week!!! PSA: Please send me podcasts that you love! I need input! Most podcast players have a "share" button... just click that and type in my email address... Spencer@4kweeks.com Thanks!
What I am Thinking About This Week
Growth and Discomfort
Today is my 11 year old son's last rehearsal before performances start.
In a staggering act of courage (compared to the shy kid he was a few years ago) he auditioned for our city's big holiday show and made it into the cast. For the last month he has had hours of rehearsal nearly every evening and weekend day.
It has been super strange to watch the steep curve of his growth in a month. My wife and I have both been struck nearly daily by how grown up he seems now. He tossed himself into an uncomfortable situation and had to level up in myriad different ways to keep up. And the growth he is doing at rehearsal is seeping out at home.
Kids seem to be able to do this much easier than adults. It's almost like they don't feel the need to be seen as competent at everything, and so they are ok with making "newbie mistakes" and learning from them.
In the book Hidden Potential by Adam Grant, chapter one is titled "Embracing the Unbearable Awkwardness of Learning", and its main focus is how certain adults can learn new languages quickly... it largely comes down to how comfortable they are getting uncomfortable. They learn a bit, and then throw themselves into situations where they are going to make a lot of mistakes in a short period of time. Thus shortening the learning curve.
So, if you want to get good at something, you are going to need to first be ok being bad at it.
If you can do that, then the next thing to do is figure out how you can put yourself in situation where you can safely make a whole bunch of mistakes in a short time.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
It seems silly that the thing holding most of us back is a deathly fear of looking stupid for a second.
Have a great week!
Thanks for being a part of the journey with us! Please tell me if you liked/disliked the blog this week. Ask my wife... those are the only emails I like to get!
Dad Joke O' The Wee
How do you make a kleenex dance?
You put a little boogie in it!