“The man who can do the average thing when everyone else around him is losing his mind.”
— Napoleon, defining a military genius.
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
Relationships: Showing Up Is Half Of It
When it comes to doing something, I believe showing up is all the rage. However, when it comes to relationships, I realised recently that it wasn’t just about showing up.
To put a little context, I’ve always been proud of the fact that no matter how busy life is, no matter how difficult situations are, I always show up when people need me. It’s somewhat of a virtue that I try my best to cultivate. I believe that nothing comes before your relationships with other people.
Last week, a friend celebrated his birthday. Since winters are out and about, the idea was to do a picnic under the winter sun with pizza, beer and some conversation. Everyone looked forward to it, and so we set out on the day. Now, this friend has a sort of reputation for making befuddling plans. Halfway through the ride, we realised we were all lost and heading up a hill on what seemed like the road not taken unless you were transporting rocks from a mine in huge trucks.
At this point, the group split into two (virtually). There were a few people who were visibly frustrated because “it always happens when it comes to him” and those who were finding solutions. I was in the former. As the evening progressed, and the sun started to leave us, the people who were finding a solution managed to save the day.
We ended up having a nice picnic in a different location whilst playing drinking games near a stream of water. It was amazing when it all panned out. However, it got me thinking that in hindsight, the entire group should’ve been more accommodating. Everyone makes mistakes. It was the guy’s birthday, and the last thing his friends could’ve done was ostracize him for making one.
If there weren’t those who brought quick solutions to the day, we would’ve had a rather bad one. That’s when I realised that when it comes to relationships, what you do after showing up is more important than just arriving on or making time for the thing.
Hedging Our Purchases
In investing, a hedge fund or a hedge is an investment that protects you from risks. (Oversimplification) For example, a common hedging technique that most people employ is to invest in gold simultaneous to investing in stocks. It so usually happens that both of these things go in reverse, so the gold protects you from full financial loss if the markets crash. Here’s a good Explain-Like-I’m-Five for Hedge Funds.
Anyway, since the idea is out there, I’ve realised that even when we’re not talking about investing, there has to be some hedging going on in our lives. It’s a rough technique that I started a while back, and I feel it has panned out. For every game I bought for my consoles, I invested some amount in stocks. If I couldn’t do both, I waited on the game. I did the same thing when it came to education, hedging my parties and hangouts by getting courses or books or even subscriptions to apps that help me learn something.
It’s not a very complex idea, but it puts everything in perspective. You’re always aware of the money you’re spending. You’re also aware of the contrasting things that money can buy. Once you know that, the purchases for your wants don’t make you feel as guilty as they would otherwise. In fact, you spend more on your long-term needs which is good overall.
It’s a little something to try if nothing else. Try to hedge your purchases (wants) by purchasing something opposite along with or after it.
To Read: J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye
“I don’t care if it’s a sad good-bye or a bad good-bye, but when I leave a place, I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.”
The Catcher in the Rye is part of the reading curriculum in many schools. Even if it isn’t, most people are introduced to this book when young and find it relatable. That is the idea of Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, going about his own way in New York during Christmas, calling everyone a phoney.
I found this book a bit later because of happenstance, really. However, I finished it in one go. I was, at the time, cooped up in a cottage during the monsoon of August, spending my time on a reading retreat with my phone turned off.
Amidst the many interpretations of what Holden is all about, I feel that irrespective of how you perceive his character, deep down you know he says a lot of right things, and that is in itself the reason to pick this book again even if you’ve already read it.
To remind yourself that the world is actually a rather see-through place.
What’s On My Mind?
The fine-line or the sweet spot of boundaries. This came because of a discussion we had while recording another episode for the Let’s Ask My Friends podcast. If everyone insists on strong boundaries, and if people never find a middle ground, personal relationships are impossible to maintain. Moderation is vital when it comes to boundaries, and the expectation that the world will always bend to how we like things is unrealistic.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
On the blog, I wrote a Breakdown of How I Plan My Days, and how I split it into three sections, aiming to complete the bare minimum each day. It’s how I have done things for a little over two years now, and it has worked flawlessly well. Good habits compound, good actions add to your life. That’s what my system is all about: adding it up.
Also, in a much-awaited announcement, Nudge › How’s Digital Store is now up on Gumroad. Currently, I have put up the Tuesday Tidbits Wallpaper Pack #1 which is a selection of the 10 best #TuesdayTidbits posts in Portrait and Landscape UHD to Nudge you while you work or are on the go!
The idea for the store is simply to make sure I can do the 7-by-7 content long-term. It’s a way to directly support Nudge › How.
Thank you so much for your consistent support!
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.