Week 50 of 2023 has arrived. The race is on to find fun and unique stocking stuffers... Soon we will be toasting and singing Auld Lang Syne...
Time to walk over to your 4K Weeks poster and fill in another square. Done?
If you have a minute and want to hear this email, with a bit more editorializing... Listen, subscribe, rate and review the new audio version... I just started it on week 46, and I think it's getting better each week.
I was thinking about time as I made some last minute gifts on the CNC machine in the shop... I absolutely love this time of year, beginning with Thanksgiving.
I love my friends and family and all the getting together is awesome... but at the same time I always feel a bit stressed pulling it all together...
I want to make special things and experiences for everyone, and there just isn't time in the month to: do all the work, do all the home stuff, and make all things and moments precious.
I think this is the micro of the macro human experience. Maybe it's a feature, not a bug. "Maybe time running out is a gift. I'll work hard till the end of my shift."
Speaking of "all the work" and "making all the things", my wife and I just soft launched a new brand we have been working on...Port of Curiosity... Take a look here and follow the Insta here, if you are so inclined...It's for fun!
Also: If you want to get a head start planning for next year, email me and ask me for a 15% discount on a MY YEAR GOAL COUNTDOWN poster!
Thanks for being here and reading! These blogs help me "Sharpen The Saw" and hopefully help you to sharpen yours!
Week 50 in 1896, Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor, has his concept of "wireless telegraphy", now known as "The Radio" was made popular by the Chief Engineer of the British Post office. No word on if he "played the mamba.". He was 1180.86 weeks old (22.64).
Week 50 of 1936, King Edward VIII abdicates the throne of the United Kingdom so he could marry his twice divorced love. (He was also a fascist sympathizer, so... no tears for him.) He was 2215.71 weeks old (42.49).
Week 50 of 1968, Arthur Ashe is crowned the first African American #1 in the world in Tennis. He was 1326.86 weeks old (25.44 yrs).
This Week's Quote
"I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts." -John Locke
There are two ways to come at this... from the outside, or from the inside. I think the default interpretational direction is from the outside...
Here is the outer perspective, restated in a quote by Maya Angelou: "When people show you who they are, believe them."
This is the interpretation when we are talking about other people. Their actions telegraph their character... If someone is rude to the help, you are next.
But, we are also "men". And so that means that our actions are the best interpreter of our thoughts as well.
In this holiday time of year, it can be restated like this:
"Show me your calendar, and I will tell you what your values are."
Spend time with your family and friends. The to-do list will still be there when you return.
What I am Consuming This Week
This American Life, #817 "The Cavalry is not Coming." The OG podcast. I saw this title and had to listen. That is a phrase that is near to my heart... but... sometimes when the cavalry doesn't show up, you and your troops get mowed down. This one is a downer. Also, the way we do healthcare in the US is borderline insanity.
The Daily, "The Bad Vibes Around a Good Economy." Super interesting... especially the part about how social media affects the narrative.
DealBook, "The Summit: Elon Musk's Mindset: 'It's a weakness to be liked'" Wow. Lots to process in this interview. I somehow am both empathetic for the broken little boy inside him, and also terrified at how non-human his intelligence sometimes seems.
The Moment with Brian Koppelman, "Rick Rubin, #2." Rubin's creative worldview might just be meeting me where I am lately... But this is the follow up conversation to the one I mentioned last week. Disagree about AC/DC though...
Huberman Lab: "Robert Greene: A Process for Finding and Achieving Your Unique Purpose." This is a deep and wide ranging conversation... with not a little fan-boying from Huberman.
Modern Wisdom with Chris Williamson: "#707 with Morgan Housel". Sent in by Nick... Thanks Nick! I like Morgan... and this was a good conversation about lots of stuff...
Octopuses are amazing... and so is Mark Rober. Your kids will love this...
PSA: Thanks to those of you who have sent in recommendations! Everyone else: Please send me podcasts that you love! Spencer@4kweeks.com
What I am Thinking About This Week
If it sucks, it's working.
Years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about a podcast I had heard. I believe it was RadioLab, but I can't recall.
The podcast was about how, through effort, you can actually change your physiology. I think they were talking about humans, but basically this is the story... Your cells don't like to be unprepared. They don't want to be operating at max capacity. So, if you want to improve your work capacity, you need to work them hard enough and long enough, and give them the raw materials they need so that they can restructure themselves to be able to easily handle the new demands.
But here is the 1st rub... that SUCKS! There is pain and akwardness there. If you are working at the level that will instigate that change, you are uncomfortable, and you have to stay uncomfortable for a while to make it happen.
And then, LIKE MAGIC, your body has changed so that running a mile or squatting 200 lbs, etc. isn't hard anymore. . . .and here comes the 2nd rub.
There is no standing still. There is no "set it and forget it"
Either you are getting stronger or you are getting weaker. Sure, it's not immediate... you can take a break when you go on vacation. You can run a newly easy mile for a month. But after a bit, your body downshifts, and the same "trajectory towards weakerness" shows up.
And so, the mantra that we came up with: "If it sucks, it's working." It applies to a whole bunch of things in life.
The other day we were chatting, and I got to wondering what things it explicitly doesn't apply to:
2) Work Processes
Got any additions to the list?
Have a great week and Happy Holidays!
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 Week
What did the vet say to the pony with a sore throat?
There's nothing to worry about, you're just a little horse!