From the #SlowScroll newsletter. Subscribe here and we’ll be in your inbox every other Monday with another timeless theme.
Welcome to the first edition of #SlowScroll: the slowest corner of the internet.
At dinner yesterday with a mentor, I sheepishly admitted that I ended up going to IIT, mostly because everyone else I knew then wanted to. I really had no idea what I wanted, but since so many other people seem to covet going there, I just assumed there must be some value to it. He smiled and said, “as did we all”. It gave me some reassurance that I’m not the only one whose reasons for doing things have been less than fully thought through. There was a simple phrase that we kept coming back to, “Monkey see, monkey do”.
This week’s theme for the #SlowScroll is Reasons We Do What We Do. More specifically, when do we do things for ourselves, and when do we do them for others.
But first, since this is the first edition, we thought we would tell you the reasons we are doing the #SlowScroll first.
Since our book, The Art of Bitfulness, came out, what’s been most heartening is how many people are willing to admit that they want to change their relationship with their devices. However, they also want that change to be quick and easy, like downloading an app.
We’ve already written everything we know about changing your technology habits in the book. We did not want to waste your time by regurgitating the book on social media and newsletters. If we have anything new to add, we will tell you. Instead, we wanted to put Bitfulness into practice and create a different experience on the internet. We wanted you to slow down, not add one more thing on your plate to keep up with. This is why we started the #SlowScroll. A place that isn’t trying to plug something, or jump from one trending topic to another, or create FOMO. The topics chosen are timeless, so that you can read them when they make sense for you, not when we send the newsletter. You can read about the concept of this newsletter here.
Against Ambition (Read Here)
There is a simple unsaid formula that we all follow in our lives. If we desire something, then we get it, we will be happy. In the modern world, there is a lot to desire. However, many people are starting to realise that the formula is flawed. Even we do get what we desired, happiness is fleeting, if at all.
This piece asks a very important question: what is the cost of our ambition? Is it worth it?
I have to admit that the pandemic has extinguished my ambition. I used to take for granted that once I reached some milestones, I’d be happier. I’m beginning to question the entire premise. I’m beginning to see greater value in freedom instead. And being free from the demands of your ambitions is even more liberating. I still do things, but I enjoy them much more since I’m not doing them to achieve anything. Now, I simply do.
Lose your Job, Gain an Identity (Read Here)
Author: The Atlantic
If the Pandemic made you question your job, you are not alone. This unusual shift, where people are quitting their jobs even in an economic downturn, has been called The Great Resignation. This piece argues that it isn’t about our jobs, it is about our identities.
An excerpt from the piece:
For many, it’s about redefining themselves as people first instead of workers. As Americans discern that their job title isn’t the most central part of their identity, Kossek said, “smart employers will realize they need to give more space to employees to develop other parts of [themselves], and develop other parts of their lives that they’ve been sacrificing for so long.”
Elephant in the Brain (Get the Book)
This book changed me profoundly. Like great non-fiction writers do, it gave me language to articulate a disconnect I felt in the world. The authors of this book say two things that seem highly controversial at first, but very true by the time you understand them. Robin Hanson and Kevin Simler believe that,
- The Reason for doing the things we do is to signal to others that we are pro-social. That is, we want others to believe we care about things bigger than ourselves.
- Our brain is very good at hiding this true intention from ourselves.
It introduced me to the “Press Secretary” model of the Brain. I could write pages about the content of this book, but it wouldn’t be half as good as this crisp book. Divided into two parts – theory and examples, this book makes a very convincing case why we do not understand the Reasons We Do What We Do as well as we think we do.
Living for Yourself & Not Others (Listen to the Podcast)
We begin our lives seeking approval and love from others, and over time try to achieve some semblance of self-fulfilment. This episode from the ‘Optimal Living Daily’ podcast is a heart-warming 10 minute recording; one that we think you’ll find useful.
An excerpt from the episode:
There’s a distinct difference between pursuing a life that makes you happy and a life that makes you proud.When you focus solely on pursuing happiness, you run the risk of neglecting the things in life that are unpleasant yet necessary.
If you’re not a big fan of listening to podcasts, you can find a transcript of the episode here: https://oldpodcast.com/living
We hope these pieces will get you thinking about your own Reasons You Do What You Do. Are they for you? Or are they for others? Are you sure they’ll make you happy?
That’s it from us. Don’t forget to take a break from all that scrolling, and find your calm. Our social profiles (especially on Instagram) may help you do that.
You can subscribe to the #SlowScroll here: www.bitfulness.com/slowscroll