“One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.”
— Will Durant
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
The One Thing My Grandfather Taught Me
I wasn’t close to my grandfather. I mean, as much as there were differences between the family, I could never develop a strong bond with him. I have some specific memories. Although, beyond that, it’s more or less an indifferent haze.
At first, I thought the lesson he taught me was: stand up straight with your shoulders back. This is also a commonly cited maxim from the book I recommended in Midweek Nudge #12.
I was a scrawny kid up until late adolescence. I’m still pretty skinny by all standards, but I am a hundred times more fitter.
So, he was the first person to point out that I needed some fitness and needed to work on my posture. I inadvertently took his advice about a decade later. He would suggest exercises and continuously point out the fact that I looked at my feet while walking.
I didn’t understand it then but starting to work out regularly was one of the first changes that set the snowball of my current general day-to-day in motion.
There’s no end to the benefits of exercising every day and maintaining a good posture. So, I won’t dive into all of that.
However, I wanted to share this story because I’ve realised there’s a lot that you can learn from people you do not like as much. Sometimes, all it takes is being reminded of a lesson that they tried to teach you continually.
It’s also important to realise that no matter what someone says, there will be lessons you’ll learn in your own time.
Yet, it pays to attribute those to them anyway.
So, to me, the posture and shoulders advice is always going to be something I heard from my grandfather first and read in a book second.
However, here’s the lesson mentioned in the title:
Giving people credit where credit is due, irrespective of your fondness for them, is a massive step towards humility and peace.
Find What Irks You; Then, Use It
Last week, I was stuck with a long to-do list, paralysed, and trying to begin but failing. One of these tasks was to vacuum the apartment. Now, this is a regular chore that I do anyway, but somehow, I wasn’t motivated enough.
As long as it looks arranged and clean, who cares if there is some dust and dirt, right? At least, that is what my inner self continually gave as justification. However, if I didn’t do this, then the rest of the list stayed undone as well. It was already afternoon.
As a person, I hate when something is messy or dirty. If the flat looks clean enough even when I know I haven’t vacuumed for a few days, my inner monologue will never be convinced that the chore needed to be done.
So, I did exactly what annoys me, I dropped a smidge of coffee, and I dusted some lint and dust off the couch on the floor. I know it sounds ridiculous, but now that the dirty was visible, I couldn’t resist.
I got up and did my usual hourlong cleaning session. Then, I proceeded to complete the rest of the tasks. The idea isn’t to make your life or days hell. It’s more of arriving at that threshold of “I need to do this now.”
It’s a functional hack, in my opinion, if used sparingly. Find what irks you; then, use it.
Reading List: The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant
“The present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding.”
In this 100-page book, historians Will and Ariel Durant summarise everything they’ve learned and realised throughout their studies of history and humanity. It’s a fascinating and yet, succinct read which will give you a hundred things to think about. I’m still thinking about the book even though I finished it a couple of days ago, and I feel it won’t be soon that I forget about it.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
Last week, I took one of the prompts from the Instagram audience to write about the one lesson I learned during my transition to adulthood. I summarised it as The Idea Is To Be Blatantly Yourself. That’s what the piece is called as well. It’s a short read, this time.
Besides that, we went for a 7-by-7 nudge for the first time last week. It’s already the second week ongoing. It’s fun, and I feel I can keep it going so here’s the updated Schedule in case you had questions about the what and when.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.