Reduce Your Death Anxiety

“The one thing all human beings have in common, is the fact that one day, our lives will end in death.

What does the idea of death mean to you? How does it make you feel?

Chances are the thought of death triggers fear or anxiety in you. You might not feel totally comfortable with the idea of dying and your life coming to an end.

Research shows that in our modern-day Western society death denial is a common attitude. Which is very contradictory in itself when you think about it, as death is ultimately the one thing we can not avoid from happening.

Ignoring death often leads to more death anxiety which can have a huge impact on your mental health and your day-to-day life, while contemplating death will give you the benefits of going through life more aware and with greater purpose.

With my online video course I will give you the tools to explore your relationship with mortality, and reduce your death anxiety.

https://acourseindying.com/get-ahead-of-death-online-video-course-on-mortality/

My father-in-law recently died after several years of illness. Talking about the possibility of dying is fraught with people engaged in magical thinking, as if broaching the subject is causal. It’s simply a reality people must face, and when they put it off, it is invariably worse. For €79, it’s probably a useful exercise, but the reality is the people that really need it won’t be the one’s buying this course.

Hacker News: Important Non-Obvious Business Lessons

Here’s 30 years of experience for you:

1. Few business problems can’t be solved by more sales.

2. Cut expenses when the storm is approaching, not when you’re soaking wet.

3. You can’t eat assets or inventory. Don’t get emotional about what you own, only about your cash balances.

4. Banks are your friend only when you don’t need them. Corollary: One bank for borrowing, one for cash balance accounts.

5. 70 completed calls per week. Not emails, calls. You can do it, start now.

6. Don’t be an asshole: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_No_Asshole_Rule

7. Hire and retain “T-shaped” people. In difficult times those employees execute across multiple domains.

8. Client, vendor or employee drama is quicksand. You assist with a stick or a rope, you don’t jump in with them.

9. Don’t romanticize work & try to avoid romance getting in the way of work.

10. You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child. Prioritize good parenting over work. Good parenting = SOS: Self awareness, objectivity, selflessness.

11. Get a prenup. No, really, do get one.

12. Pay yourself according to a financial model that prioritizes healthy business cash balances, and not your personal desires.

-armc, “Ask HN: Important nonobvious startup/business lessons you’ve learned?Hacker News. May 12, 2022.

I think my favorites from this list are 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 11. Except I might reformulate them a bit.

  • Be willing to sell almost anything you own.
  • Banks are never your friend.
  • Don’t be or tolerate assholes.
  • As want to work with As. Bs hire Cs.
  • Avoid drama and learn how to help deescalate.
  • You’re only as happy as the least happiest person in your inner circle.
  • Your romantic relationships will be the source of most of your happiness and/or misery. Choose wisely.

IBM’s Asshole Test

“Some years back I applied to join IBM’s grad scheme, there was a peculiar stage to the process I’ve not seen elsewhere. It was during the onsite day, where a batch of 20 or so applicants were put through various tests in an IBM office. They called it the “group test”; around 8 of us were led to a room and asked to solve a puzzle together. Each of us was given an information pack, there was a white board, and a timer ticking down from 60 minutes. At first there was silence as we looked at our packs, then the first voice: “Let’s pool our information”, someone stands up by the whiteboard, grasping a marker. Silence, it’s not clear how this information should be parsed. One person starts reading theirs out word for word. This is not going to scale. Someone interrupts. Before long the whiteboard leader has been deposed and another is wielding the marker. Then another fights for control. The 60 minutes has run out, the puzzle is unsolved. Confused and drained we head off to the next test.

At the end of the day the group is split into two rooms, my room is given the good news and I go on to join the grad scheme. Six months later I am shadowing a colleague who is running the “group test”. I asked him if he’d ever seen a group complete the test? “Oh, it’s not about that, this is an asshole test. You see who turns into an asshole under pressure and they don’t make it to the next round”.

-johnpublic, “IBM’s Asshole Test.” johnpublic.mataroa.blog. May 4, 2022

Companion to The Asshole Filter.

TweetDelete

“TweetDelete is a service that can mass delete your Twitter posts based on their age or specific text they contain. It can also run automatically on a schedule if you wish.”

https://tweetdelete.net/

I haven’t tried it, but I read that this can do a rolling delete at a particular time, say 6 months. It seems like it might be useful to some people.

Happy People Tend to Stay That Way

* “[X], were you satisfied with your life before you met [Y]?”

* “[X], were you free from depression before you met [Y]?”

* “[X], did you have a positive affect before you met [Y]?”

Researchers have found that people who answered “yes” to questions such as these are significantly more likely to report being happy in their romantic relationship. In other words, a person who is happy outside their relationship is far more likely to be happy inside their relationship, as well…

…If I had to sum up, in one sentence, the most important finding in the field of relationship science, thanks to these Big Data studies, it would be something like this (call it the First Law of Love): In the dating market, people compete ferociously for mates with qualities that do not increase one’s chances of romantic happiness.

-Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, “People Are Dating All Wrong, According to Data Science.” Wired. May 10, 2022.

The net on this is that the qualities that people tend to look for in selecting mates are not the qualities that lead to happiness. But, the argument presented here is ultimately a bad one. Just because some approach is bad, does not make its opposite good.

If I had to sum up the lesson of this article, it is that people that are happy in their lives tend to also be happy in their relationships. If you want to be happy in a relationship, perhaps the secret is to be happy outside of one and look for someone who is also happy in their lives before they met you.

The Map by Venkatesh Rao

“If only, the argument went, you could discover the exact opposite territory — not literally; that was in the middle of the ocean, but some sort of training-data antonym in latent space — and the exact set of tweaks to make to the training code, the Antimap would emerge at the Antipode, and begin its own inexorable creep towards the Map. And through the ensuing battle of Map and Antimap, the final training epoch would be triggered, leading to the Final Convergence, and heaven on Earth.

It was widely derided as a profoundly stupid religion.

And yet, as the growth of heaven slowed to a crawl, the surreptitious search for hell began.”

-Venkatesh Rao, “The Map.” ribbonfarm.com. May 5, 2022.

Parable of the best possible outcome of a piece of technology, where its limits invariably bring humans to imagine its opposite, a kind of hell.

Online Techno-Polymath Guy

“I was discussing with Sam the “genre,” so to speak, of the Online Techno-Polymath Guy. You know this guy. He (and it’s usually a he) has his own website, probably hand-crafted in Kirby, Github, or WordPress, as well as a well-regarded, personable Twitter presence. 

He keeps track of everything he reads, writes pithy blog posts on esoteric subjects. His personal philosophy is progressive with a futurist bent.  He has worked in a variety of fields, though you are unsure what he actually currently does for a living. He is knowledgeable, authoritative, but eccentric, which you can tell by the fun colors he’s used to design his fun little homepage. 

You can have fun clicking around his carefully maintained archive, witnessing the dynamic interplay of his disparate areas of interest. You can ooh and ahh at his reading lists, his quirky, inventive stances on issues like quantum computing and social media moderation. 

It’s all very inspirational.”

-Allegra Rosenberg, “Fear of the Archive.” tchotchke.substack.com. July 29, 2020.

When I read this, I thought I’d probably met the definition of this archetype for this person. Then, he goes on to say this.

“Better to be inconstant in one’s archiving (or forgo it completely) than to constantly be faced with the dirty dishes, the nauseating, living ‘matter’ of one’s past interests, pasts opinions, past genius lying guilelessly buried under strata of increasing idiocy.”

The weird thing about keeping a daily blog like this one is it is a process and a bit of a discipline. Here it is on Saturday morning, and I’ve nothing on my blog for the day. What do I do?

I have a Wallabag list that I put everything interesting I came across – in newsletters, RSS feeds or from wherever. I just look for something especially interesting or that I’d like to make a short statement about or would like to remember. Curation, and sharing of the things you think are interesting in this moment is a kind of love, a sharing of oneself.

The audience for these blog posts is the future me. It’s capturing a moment, and in some future moment, stumbling across it while looking for something else, I don’t think past me is some brilliant standard I’m no longer living up to. More often than not, I’m looking at the flaws, mostly spelling and formatting mistakes, and correcting them.

You see, future me remembers some of what it was like to be past me. There are wisps of memory of that particular moment, where I wrote something or did something, but much of it gets lost. But, being able to read these bits helps me to remember. Helps me to see how I’ve grown and changed. Whereas without taking the moment to write the post, it would be forever lost, like salt in the ocean.

Memory flavors everything, but it is its own kind of experience. It is always flawed and incomplete, like trying to see ocean salt when you can only taste it.

When I look at this blog, I see a few really good things. But, most of it is very mediocre. But, Sturgeon’s Law reigns everywhere. It doesn’t have to be good. I’m allowed to say dumb things – past, present and future – because I’m a flawed human being. And, every once in awhile, there’s gold in this swill bucket. But, you never get a chance to find it if you don’t stir it on a regular basis.

Lower your standards. No effort is lost of wasted. It’s this kind of dialogue, mostly with ourselves, that makes blogging worthwhile. I recommend it to everyone.