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What I'm reading #23: Change, self-criticism & transformation

By Sam Instone - June 10, 2021

This week was my first overseas business trip in 24 months.

Many people say the world is “going back” to normal.

But is it?

The pandemic has changed how we live and work.

But, this year likely represents the slowest rate of technological and societal change you are likely to experience in the rest of your life!

This is kind of a mixture between Moore’s Law and Darwin's ‘survival of the fittest’.

Professor Scott Galloway wrote an incredible piece on what we’ll leave behind after the pandemic.

He says COVID presents society with the opportunity to design a better life with less.

His thoughts on what we will leave behind include:

  • Emissions: In many places, the water has been clearer, the sky bluer. Perhaps now’s the time to focus on more sustainable ways of living. A spectacular home is worth a ton of money. Isn’t a spectacular backyard (sea, sky, land), for us and our children, also worth a huge investment?
  • The term “essential workers”: Galloway says the problem with this term is that, while we run commercials and call these people heroes, they’re still being paid minimum wage.
  • Howling in the money storm: We proffer admiration, affection, and a sense of awe to people who aggregate wealth. But that affection is often misplaced, as wealth itself rarely leads to happiness.

A generation has the opportunity not to return to normal but to emerge from the current crisis with a commitment to being better fathers and mothers, spouses, and citizens.

But many of us are still learning and if you’re not there yet - don’t be hard on yourself.

Research shows self-criticism shifts the brain into a state of inaction.

It prevents you from reaching your goals.

This article in Harvard Business Review shares a few strategies on how to take a more balanced approach to performance.

I think I may have stumbled upon one of the secrets of perhaps the most successful of my friends – a billionaire businessman.

He is a remarkable walker…

“Moreover, you must walk like a camel, which is said to be the only beast which ruminates when walking.”
– Henry David Thoreau, “Walking”, 1861

Why does walking help us think?

Walking changes our brains and it impacts not only creativity, but also memory.

How many times have you struggled with a problem or difficult assignment, taken a walk, and suddenly the answer has come to you?

Not only does my walking friend have a large bank account, he's also the epitome of someone who ‘lives richly’.

He spends time with friends, lives life to the fullest, travels and has a close-knit family.

What constitutes a rich life really depends on your relationship with money and what matters most to you.

When you’re content, a number doesn’t matter as much as your mindset.

On a similar topic, Morgan Housel’s piece talks about ‘how to get the goalpost to stop moving’.

Morgan explains there aren’t many laws of money.

But here’s one, and perhaps the most important: If your expectations grow faster than income you’ll never be happy with your money.

One of the most important financial skills is getting the goalpost to stop moving.

It’s also one of the hardest.

It’s almost the halfway mark of the year.

Time to re-evaluate the goals you set for yourself at the start.


A question for you:

How are you progressing? Were your goalposts realistic to begin with?


This week’s mediations:

"The Paradox of Focus:
Make the most of one opportunity and more opportunities will come your way.
Moving boldly in one direction causes more paths to unfold before you.
To get more, focus on less."
 – James Clear

"What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?"
– Elizabeth Gilbert


If you liked this post, please share it using the social buttons at the top, or just forward them this blog.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the ‘light’ reading! 


Moore's Law 

Professor Scott Galloway's 'What We Leave Behind'

Melody Wilding in the Harvard Business Review 'Stop Being So Hard on Yourself'

Jeremy DeSilva's 'On the Link Between Great Thinking and Obsessive Walking'

Ben Carlson on 'If You’re Still Worried, You Aren’t Wealthy'

Morgan Housel's 'Getting the Goalpost to Stop Moving'


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