busy brains

“Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting. At the same time, we are all doing more. Thirty years ago, travel agents made our airline and rail reservations, salespeople helped us find what we were looking for in shops, and professional typists or secretaries helped busy people with their correspondence. Now we do most of those things ourselves. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies, and our favourite TV shows.”

Why the modern world is bad for your brain

My father was suprised when I told him I am responsible to planning, booking and arranging all my own work travel: domestically and internationally. “Isn’t there a team of  people who do that for you?” he asked. No there isn’t.

One of the best things about my weekend time is nature is forgetting about all that noise and just focusing on the present with my only concern being that I don’t fall straight off a cliff 🙀



The ever-useful German word ‘Torschlusspanik’: the feeling that the options are narrowing, that the boat is leaving, that you’re too old.

Alain de Botton at his finest

→ you don’t need more free time

“You cannot get more “weekend” simply by taking an extra day off work yourself. If we were to take more time off as individuals, we would be likely to spend that time, as the jobless do, waiting for other people to finish work. We are stuck “at work,” in a sense, by the work schedules of our family and friends.”


I’ve been thinking about this a fair bit. A flexible job that allows weekend work for one partner whilst the other partner alternates looking after the kids seems like a good idea, but it just encourages us to solely work more and collectively spend less time together. There’s still something about the 9-5.

the hedonic treadmill


A growing list of traditional life pursuits are being found to have zero to only small correlations with happiness, well-being, and life satisfaction:

Beauty: ugly people are happy too.
Money: Materialism is inefficient.
Sunshine:Avoid really cold and dark places. Everything else is not much different
Education: Cheap education is the best education.
Children: Kids are for meaning and purpose. Friends and vacations are for happiness.
Choice: Simplify. Uncertainty feels bad, simplicity feels good.

Happier Human’s Hedonic Treadmill #



crested succulents: my new obsession

I’ve been fond of succulents for some time now, but I was feeling a bit over them until I recently discovered crested succulents.

No one really knows how these plants form but they’re a naturally occurring mutation that means a normal succulent grows a ‘crest’ from which sprouts hundreds of tiny leaves instead of a typical succulent form. A crested succulent doesn’t really look like a normal succulent of the same species. The older the succulent gets the longer the crest grows and therefore the more growth it gets across the crest creating a dramatic effect.

As they’re naturally occurring and can’t be grown this way they’re hard to find but I found a market stall that has a few and I bought a couple on the weekend. I also discovered one had formed in a succulent planter I already had – so now I have a nice collection of crested succulents.

I’m looking forward to seeing the crests grow longer and getting more leaves along them. I heard that sometimes the crested mutant will sprout some normal growth out of the crest and the key is to break these off if this happens.

My collection. The plant in the middle is the oldest I have and wasn’t much different in size to the others only 12 months ago

sweet interactions

“My dad counsels people dealing with trauma and major anxiety, and once offhandedly mentioned a suggestion he gave to a client: When you’re out, look for people being nice to each other. Having sweet interactions. Look for friends getting coffee or a person holding open a door or strangers saying ‘how you doin’?’ or a dad kissing the top of his daughter’s head. And in Brooklyn, if you look for them, you get to see these tiny magic interactions everywhere. It’s gotten me through moments of secret darkness; it makes me well up with love for all these sweet, fragile, striving people around me; and for the gentle, kind man I learned it from.”

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Technology means I’ve never felt more connected; it also means I’ve never felt more disconnected and alone. Connection enabled by technology is junk connectivity, and in the way junk food provides no nourishment, technology provides no fulfilling, deep human connection that we all need to thrive.

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my morning ritual

“The only true voyage would be not to travel through a hundred different lands with the same pair of eyes, but to see the same land through a hundred different pairs of eyes”
~ Marcel Proust

I like my morning ritual where most days I go for a walk or jog through the forest right by our house before logging on to work at home. I stick to the same path mostly (I vary it slightly depending on my cravings for exercise and/or nature), but the benefit of this is I get to see the same landscape over and over again, through the days and seasons. Some days I notice things I’ve never noticed before even thought I’ve been there hundreds of times before. And some days some amazing things happen, like when I see baby koalas, kangaroos and when like this morning a thick fog covers the entire forest.




“Proficiency and the results of proficiency come only to those who have learned the paradoxical art of doing and not doing, of combining relaxation with activity, of letting go as a person in order to that the immanent and transcendent Unknown Quantity make take hold.”

~ Aldous Huxley

Via The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman – highly recommended

bally mountain

Rise early morning on Saturday – feeling over work – feeling like a nature fix and some headspace – drive 60 mins from home before the motorway to the Gold Coast gets busy – park the car and head up Mount Bally via Little Mount Bally. Familiar scenery but haven’t been here before. Razorback Ridges are a reminder of how close death is. Eat an early packed lunch full of love at the summit with stunning 360 degree views. Not another soul in sight. The winter sun humbly recharges and reinvigorates. Head down to the car feeling refreshed. Love time in nature. Head home for some family time; a better person.


ballina to byron bay

Today I walked my longest ever single day walk – 37km from Ballina to Byron Bay on the beautiful north coast of New South Wales, Australia.

I did this walk in 2016 but in reverse and a slightly shorter 35km version of it.

Even though I walked fast, finishing in less than five and a half hours, I still managed to take in the impressive scenery – I love this bit of coastline – nothing comes close.

strategic incompetence

“Strategic incompetence is the art of avoiding undesirable tasks by pretending to be unable to do them, and though the phrase was apparently only recently coined in a Wall Street Journal article, the concept is surely as old as humanity. “

Oliver Burkeman #

ambiguity effect

“The ambiguity effect is a cognitive bias where decision making is affected by a lack of information, or “ambiguity”. The effect implies that people tend to select options for which the probability of a favorable outcome is known, over an option for which the probability of a favorable outcome is unknown. The effect was first described by Daniel Ellsberg in 1961.”


Some personal examples.

I will often choose a familiar restaurant, even when revisiting a foreign city, where the probably of a favourable outcome, a good meal, is higher. Or I will spend hours researching and reading reviews of restaurants increasing the likelihood of a nice meal. This means I may miss some of the great restaurants as I don’t consider any unknown options, or I choose something within known parameters.

On hiking to a mountain peak, on return I will typically follow the path I followed on the way up, or a path I have taken before. I don’t see this as a negative per se, as I believe it reduces the chances of getting lost or walking off a cliff.

How does the ambiguity effect affect your life?

it’s turtles all the way down

There’s an old apocryphal story from 16th-century where a young man climbs a large mountain to speak to the sage at the top. Supposedly this sage knew, like, everything and stuff. And this young man was anxious to understand the secrets of the world.

Upon arriving at the top of the mountain, the sage greeted the young man and invited him to ask him anything (note: this was way before Reddit threads). The young man then asked him his question, “Great sage, we stand upon the world, but what does the world stand upon?”

The sage immediately replied, “The world rests upon the back of a number of great elephants.”

The young man thought for a moment, and then asked, “Yes, but what do the elephants stand upon?”

The sage replied again, without hesitation, “The elephants rest upon the back of a great turtle.”

The young man, still not satisfied, asked, “Yes, but what does the great turtle rest upon?”

The sage replied, “It rests upon an even greater turtle.”

The young man, growing frustrated, began to ask, “But what does–”

“No, no,” the sage interrupted, “stop there–it’s turtles all the way down.”

via Mark Manson