Discover more from Colin Wright's Newsletter
October 11, 2023
(if you have a moment, reply with your own 3-item status via email or in the comments)
When you consume alcohol, there’s a good chance your prime goal is not to consume alcohol: you’re looking to socialize, you’re interested in feeling altered, you’re maybe just parched and want something to drink.
The same is true of many activities we engage in regularly; the act itself may be just one possible means of achieving an actual, deeper goal.
In such cases, there may be other, superior (for our purposes) means of accomplishing the same outcomes: you could pop around a party with a sparkling water in your hand instead of a beer, for instance, or take mushrooms (or meditate, or work out) instead of trying to adjust your mindset with booze.
In some cases, our default approaches to achieving certain outcomes are our defaults because we’ve tried a bunch of other options and landed on one that serves us best, most of the time.
In other cases, though, we do things the way we do them because of habit, happenstance, received wisdom, or laziness.
I might grab a beer when relaxing with friends because I’ve always grabbed a beer in such circumstances, but I might also do it because someone typically hands me a beer when I’m out with a group, because my parents (or other childhood influences) grabbed beers while socializing, or because that’s what’s easily accessible and I can’t be bothered to consider alternatives (or to even wonder if there are viable alternatives).
There’s an element of what’s called “first principles thinking” here: we may believe we want to design a new car, but what we really want is a plane, a teleportation device, or a means of communicating with other people at a distance (all of which may help us accomplish a more fundamental goal—engaging with other people who are far away—though possibly in ways that violate our initial assumptions about what it is we’re trying to accomplish).
This variation on that concept, though, relies heavily on self-knowledge and the capacity to analyze one’s own intentions and influences so that we might better understand which outcomes are the vital ones and which are assumed to be vital, but not necessarily even relevant.
It can be difficult to determine whether our beer-bias is optimal, accidental, or incidental, much less if there might be other options that are more ideal for our true goals.
And this is especially true if we aren’t accustomed to taking a step back and assessing our behaviors, perspectives, assumptions, and objectives from a standpoint that allows for high-resolution, honest, and judgement-free consideration.
If you found some value in this essay, consider becoming a paid subscriber or buying me a coffee.
Colin Wright's Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Interesting & Useful
“Alphorns, also known as Alpine Horns or Alpenhorns, make a warm, rich, sonorous, mysterious sound; their history is old and married to the Alps. They are beautiful pieces of woodworking also. I wanted to play one, so I set out to build one.”
Online mini-game that asks you to put a selection of six historical events in chronological order (it’s harder than you might think).
Another pseudo-online game: draw an iceberg and see how it would float.
Things are finally settling down a little on this end after a month-ish of tumult, so I’m giving myself the time and opportunity to recharge my battery while finishing up a few tasks I set aside several weeks ago. I’m also revisiting my list of next-step things to do, now that I’ve had bonus opportunity to re-think and re-prioritize.
I’m hoping to fall into a new routine with video-making next week (this was one of the projects I had to set aside) and to get a few final platform rearrangement issues handled over the next handful of days.
Beyond that, I’m eating, working-out, and sleeping normally for the first time in what feels like forever, and wow does that feel good; five stars, would recommend.
How have things been in your neck of the woods? What’s on your agenda for the latter-half of October? Drop me a note and tell me what’s up or share a quick hello. Reply directly to this newsletter or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org—I respond to every message I receive :)
Prefer stamps and paper? Send me a letter, postcard, or some other physical communication at: Colin Wright, PO Box 11442, Milwaukee, WI 53211