Don’t Push that Button and The Moral Bucket List

Creative Work

Making Sense:

Rewarding patience over laziness in social experiments and weaving engineering into cartoons both lead to surprising results.

  • The button: the fascinating social experiment driving Reddit crazy. Vox: These colored badges have created a virtual status hierarchy. Within the /r/thebutton community, lower numbers are more prestigious. Only a few people have had the patience and good luck to snag coveted yellow flair indicating a timer below 31 seconds. There are also believed to be orange and red flair for when the timer gets below 21 and 11 seconds, respectively, but no one has actually gotten this flair yet.
  • Inside the whimsical but surprisingly dark world of Rube Goldberg machines. The Verge: The machines were symbols, Goldberg wrote, of "man’s capacity for exerting maximum effort to accomplish minimal results." The early 20th century was a time of great technological upheaval — inventions of unprecedented complexity were introduced to the world as novelties and quickly became ubiquitous. […]The mechanisms of our world are not necessarily any more efficient than they’ve ever been; they’re just more obscure, hidden in the invisible digital distance behind our screens.

Making Do:

How we spend our days ends up being how we spend our lives. Understanding the difference between practice and deliberate practice makes a difference in learning.

  • Charted: How history’s most creative people organized their days. The Washington Post: Want to develop a better work routine? […] Some of the differences in creative schedules are granular. A select few, for instance, dedicated impressive portions of their day to exercise—Charles Dickens, in particular, who spend more than two hours exercising each day, was a work out fiend. Others, meanwhile, managed to make their art or creative work despite spending a good deal of their time working a separate day job (see Kurt Vonnegut, Wolfgang Mozart, and Sigmund Freud).
  • What is Deliberate Practice? Shane Parrish: Despite repetition, most people fail to become experts at what they do, no matter how many years they spend doing it. Experience does not equate to expertise. […] The talent argument, despite its popularity, is wrong. […] Most of what we consider practice is really just playing around — we’re in our comfort zone.

Making It:

What we would want for ourselves is often the hardest thing to give others. Getting to making it work is a process — and this is as valid for individuals as for organizations.

  • The Moral Bucket List. NYT: once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. You often catch them looking after other people and as they do so their laugh is musical and their manner is infused with gratitude. […] wonderful people are made, not born — that the people I admired had achieved an unfakeable inner virtue, built slowly from specific moral and spiritual accomplishments.
  • Authenticity is an Evolving Process of Search and Discovery. Tim Kastelle: think about authenticity as a process, not a state. If “authentic” is something that you are, then it is hard to see how you can change, because that means becoming something that you currently are not.