This Is The Unparalleled Freedom Of Not Wanting Things

This Week’s BIG Idea

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how different my life would be if I had fewer desires. I think some of the things that let you react impulsively when it comes to wanting things are your inputs. Watch a football game and during the commercials, you suddenly want to drink a beer. Watch tech videos on YouTube and suddenly you want to buy a new MacBook. Paying attention to the content that you consume can help you limit those desires. How you interpret what you’re exposed to is as important. What you want isn’t the thing itself, but the feeling you’re trying to achieve with those things. A feeling that a new shirt, computer, or food won’t give you. You don’t want a Macbook, you want to be a rebel; you don’t want a video game, you want to escape from reality for a few hours; you don’t want the beer, you want to drink something that makes you feel like the people in the commercial. Wanting things is a weakness and a liability, but it’s also human. To this effect, we should pursue as few desires as possible and make those count. So what will you focus on and what will you ignore?

What I’m Working on

Although I don’t have much to share at the moment, I’ve been working on a long-form article for a few weeks now. Since the article is not ready (and it won’t be ready for quite some time), I don’t want to say much else. That said, I’m compiling information from several books I’ve read over the past few years to write it and I’m going to share more details about it when it’s ready.

What I’m Listening to

I just finished reading Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss and I loved the book. I liked it so much in fact, that I went back to listen to the podcast. To coincide with the release of the book, Ferriss worked on a podcast also titled Tribe of Mentors. The podcast is a series of short episodes where he interviews some of the most successful filmmakers, writers, entrepreneurs, and investors and asks them a series of questions. I know I’m going to come back to the book at some point in the future (I’m already thinking about rereading The 4-Hour Workweek), but in the meantime, this podcast is a great resource to learn from top-class performers.

What I’m Reading

  • Courage Is Calling by Ryan Holiday: in the first book in a series of four, Holiday breaks down fear. The author discusses how the most successful men and women in history faced and overcame fear. Nowadays though, most people are paralyzed by fear, so they could use a book that encourages them to take more risks. As I mentioned above, Courage Is Calling is the first book of four, since Holiday intends to write one book for each of the four cardinal virtues of the Stoics: wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. I just started reading the book, but expect a summary of it soon.

What I’m Watching

I’ve heard about “fear setting” before, but I had never watched the TED Talk where entrepreneur Tim Ferriss discusses what the technique implies.

Fear setting is a three-step exercise. First, you make three lists of ten to twenty entries where you must define, prevent, and repair. Define means thinking about the worst things that could happen. Prevent means taking action to prevent those from happening in the first place. Repair means doing something to fix your previously-defined worst-case scenarios. Second, you make a list of all the benefits if what you do is successful. Third, you make a list with all the costs of doing nothing.

Although this is a really brief account of what Ferriss discusses in his TED Talk, I might talk about this at length at some point, since this exercise can truly be life-changing.

This Week’s Quote

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.”

Jerzy Gregorek

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