→ the importance of sleep

Why, exactly, are we so sleep-deprived? What has happened over the course of the last 75 years? In 1942, less than 8% of the population was trying to survive on six hours or less sleep a night; in 2017, almost one in two people is. The reasons are seemingly obvious. “First, we electrified the night,” Walker says. “Light is a profound degrader of our sleep. Second, there is the issue of work: not only the porous borders between when you start and finish, but longer commuter times, too. No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead. And anxiety plays a part. We’re a lonelier, more depressed society. Alcohol and caffeine are more widely available. All these are the enemies of sleep.”

A great article on the importance of sleep: an adult sleeping only 6.75 hours a night would be predicted to live only to their early 60s without medical intervention.

📚 the boiling river

I recently finished The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in The Amazon—a TED book by Andrés Ruzo. I love the short format and interestingness of these books, this one was no exception.

“At a time when everything seems mapped, measured, and understood, this river challenges what we /think/ we know. It has forced me to question the line between known and unknown, ancient and modern, scientific and spiritual. It is a reminder that there are still great wonders to be discovered. We find them not just in the black void of the unknown but in the white noise of everyday life—in the things we barely notice, the things we almost forget, even in the detail of a story.”

“My headlamp concentrates my focus on the small area it illuminates and makes the darkness beyond seem impenetrable. I contemplate the marvels that must be out there, shrouded in darkness or hidden in the everyday. That is the lesson of the darkness: it is our perspective that draws the line between the known and the unknown, the sacred and the trivial, the things we take for granted and the things we have yet to discover.”

we tell stories to children for many reasons…

“We tell stories to children for many reasons, and if the goal is to teach them a moral lesson then one way to make the lesson more accessible to children is to use human characters. Yes, we should consider the diversity of story characters and the roles they are depicted in”

Patricia Ganea, from the University of Toronto on why having all the animals in most children’s books isn’t such a great idea after all.

buy experiences, not things

Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions.

Essentially, when you can’t live in a moment, they say, it’s best to live in anticipation of an experience. Experiential purchases like trips, concerts, movies, et cetera, tend to trump material purchases because the utility of buying anything really starts accruing before you buy it.

Waiting for an experience apparently elicits more happiness and excitement than waiting for a material good (and more “pleasantness” too—an eerie metric). By contrast, waiting for a possession is more likely fraught with impatience than anticipation.

source

A 8 year-old friend of junior pixels recently told him at school that our family doesn’t have many toys because we go on holidays all the time. I initially didn’t know what to think when I heard him recount this, but I am since proud of that fact.

the first day of spring

I recently finished The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson (spoiler: the book’s title is a misminor: it’s actually about how to selectively give a fuck), and I found this quote particularly poignant:

“Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don’t go from “wrong” to “right.” Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong. And when we learn something additional, we go from slightly less wrong to slightly less wrong than that, and then to even less wrong than that, and so on. We are always in the process of approaching truth and perfection without actually ever reaching truth or perfection.
We shouldn’t seek to find the ultimate “right” answer for ourselves, but rather, we should seek to chip away at the ways that we’re wrong today so that we can be a little less wrong tomorrow.”

Today is my birthday. I always thought I was born on the first day of spring. The convention in Australia is spring begins on the first day of September. But I was was wrong. Spring technically doesn’t start until we reach the September equinox. An equinox is the moment in which the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun’s disk, which occurs twice each year, around 20 March and 23 September. On an equinox, day and night are of approximately equal duration all over the planet.

So in this year 2017, in Australia, spring begins around 8am on the 23rd of September, not today. I was born in winter after all 🙁

idleness is not just a vacation…

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

~ Tim Kreider: The ‘Busy’ Trap via What One Company Learned from Forcing Employees to Use Their Vacation Time

control your reaction

As Turia Pitt prepares to become a first-time mother in December, she recalls the life lessons her parents taught her.

“They made me realise even though I couldn’t always control what happened, or what other people said or thought, I could control my reaction,” Turia told Essential Baby.

“They also showed how I could reframe a painful or negative event, or use humour to diffuse a situation or disarm someone.”

Nothing could have prepared Turia for the Kimberley fire that left her with burns to 65 per cent of her body six years ago. But she said, it was the life lessons her parents, Célestine Vaite and Michael Pitt, imparted that helped build her fortitude.

Read more: http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/news/celebrity-parents/turia-pitt-three-things-i-will-teach-my-son-20170823-gy2ux9

i’m a human meat pie…

“You know what, I’m a meat pie. I’m a human meat pie, I’m not flash… there are no surprises. I like motorsport, I like my family, I’ve got two dogs, four kids, got chickens and some sheep. When someone says you’re the everyday man, the guy next door, or you’re the average joe, well that feels like a massive compliment. You know I’ve got a face like a dropped pie and I’m not exactly the right shape according to the magazines, but people let me on their TV screens. I’ve had some guys say, “you give me hope”.

I wouldn’t give my 16-year-old self any advice. I wouldn’t interfere with him at all, because for every broken heart and for every hard road travelled or every pothole that was hard on my emotional suspension, I’ve turned out to be who I am – and I am now with the woman of my dreams, I have four healthy beautiful children and I’m doing my dream job. Why would I risk changing any of it? I’m not going to send anything off kilter.”

~ Shane Jacobson – star of Kenny – the Australian film about a bloke that fixes busted toilets – via The Big Issue #543

the only exercise…

“Many people – and not a few companies – like to think that they can somehow stretch the cognitive limits of their minds, that doings lots of Sudoku or using programs like Brain Trainer will somehow enlarge their capacity. They’re out of luck. The only exercise that seems to nurture, or at least protect our brains is aerobic exercise. Yoga, toning and stretching may make you feel good but, in fMRI scans, only aerobic exercise seemed to have a visibly positive impact on the brain.”

~ Margaret Heffernan – Wilful Blindness

→ when i’m gone

WHEN YOU BECOME A FATHER

Now you’ll understand what real love is, son. You’ll realize how much you love her, but real love is something you’ll feel for this little thing over there. I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. I’m just a corpse, I’m not a fortune teller.

Have fun. It’s a great thing. Time is gonna fly now, so make sure you’ll be around. Never miss a moment, they never come back. Change diapers, bathe the baby, be a role model to this child. I think you have what it takes to be an amazing father, just like me.

From a story about a father who dies young and leaves his eight and a half old son a series of letters to open at life events.

Whilst the story reads like a true story, it’s actually fiction.

 

removed

“The joining of people to devices has been rapid and unalterable. The application of the personal device in daily life has made tasks take less time. Far away places and people feel closer than ever before. Despite the obvious benefits that these advances in technology have contributed to society, the social and physical implications are slowly revealing themselves. In similar ways that photography transformed the lived experience into the photographable, performable, and reproducible experience, personal devices are shifting behaviors while simultaneously blending into the landscape by taking form as being one with the body. This phantom limb is used as a way of signaling busyness and unapproachability to strangers while existing as an addictive force that promotes the splitting of attention between those who are physically with you and those who are not.”

Very thought provoking.

→ why you shouldn’t say ‘you’re welcome’

The script is so deeply ingrained that you don’t even need to think about it. When you do a favor, and someone says “thank you,” the automatic response is “you’re welcome.” It’s a basic rule of politeness, and it signals that you accept the expression of gratitude — or that you were happy to help.

But according to one leading psychologist, this isn’t the best choice of words. After four decades of studying persuasion, Influence author Robert Cialdini has come to see “you’re welcome” as a missed opportunity. “There is a moment of power that we are all afforded as soon as someone has said ‘thank you,’” Cialdini explains. To capitalize on this power, he recommends an unconventional reply:

“I know you’d do the same for me.”

Interesting

 

if i had my child to raise over again…

“If I had my child to raise over again,

I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.

I’d do less correcting, and more connecting.

I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.

I would care to know less, and know to care more.

I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.

I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.

I’d run through more fields, and gaze at more stars.

I’d do more hugging, and less tugging.

I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.

I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.

I’d teach less about the love of power,

And more about the power of love.

It matters not whether my child is big or small,

From this day forth, I’ll cherish it all.”

→ Diana Loomans