Five truths we forget

It is easy to be blind to the most blinding truths about ourselves

Things are quiet until they are not, what you remember is not what you thought you would, and your perspective on yourself is just one of many

There is only one you…except that is not true. If you ask people you have interacted with, they will each describe and remember a different you. It will not be the same you that you believe you are. It’s strange to accept that no matter what, your idea of you is just one of many, and has no more truth than the others.

Filling a piggy bank with change. Exercising. Smoking. Abuse, praise, discipline, slacking off, stress. Everything adds up and not only that, it compounds — it grows faster and faster as it is fed. Investing a dollar a day since 1980 would get you $365.25*40 = $14,610, but because of market gains, it would also compound… to $350,000. Because of this, what you do early-on and what you stick to make a gigantic difference.

What we hear as ‘a little louder’ or a ‘little brighter’ is actually twice as loud and twice as bright. Our sense of the world is calibrated to detect doublings, not little steps. It helps us notice small changes in small signals, and keeps us from being overwhelmed by big changes in large signals. Remember that small linear progressions don’t usually get noticed, only the doublings, whether it is career, debt, love, or sadness.

How you remember experiences is not directly under your control, but under that of emotion. In the whole 31,556,952 seconds that make up a year, you will only really be able to recall a few moments, a few experiences, a few words that reach out to you years afterwards. They will be correlated with strong emotions (good, bad, and new), and triggered by unexpected mementos like a smell or a sound or song.

When we form a mental image of another, we assemble them from their interactions with us. The strongest memory is, ‘were they kind?’. Not smart or funny or compelling. We start with kindness because we are social animals and it is the strongest single ingredient we use in defining others.

Weber Fechner Law on Wikipedia

Making lasting memories: Remembering the significant

Scientific American: “Kindness Contagion”

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Eulogy for an outgoing Macbook Pro

Interactive developer for science and data outreach,

Interactive developer for science and data outreach,