“Time plays a role in almost every decision. And some decisions define your attitude about time”
— John Cale
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
Of Premature Evaluation of Decisions
This morning, I went out wearing a backpack. I had a list of tasks and errands, and I knew it was a long yet productive day.
Just then, I saw a coffee shop, and I thought, “Well, why not get an espresso shot, right?”
So, I went inside. It was twenty minutes past ten AM, but the place looked as if it had just opened up. I asked the barista whether the place is open to order. They said yes.
I said, “Alright, then. I’ll have a single shot of espresso.”
To which they replied, “But sir, the coffee machine is still not turned on so that’ll take another ten minutes or so.”
This was the moment I instantly started regretting my decision to move back to my hometown. It was building up for a while given the overwhelming search for an apartment, the casual and rampant moral policing, minor damages to my stuff with the movers, and all sorts of other situations.
This is what the buildup led to; I felt this sudden urge to scream. I looked at the person calmly, though, and said, “Thanks, anyway” and left.
However, I spent the entire day second-guessing my move to my hometown of Dehradun. If it’s not evident, it is a tad slower than most cities. It has caught up with most of the other cities in the country when it comes to amenities but there is this tardiness to everything.
At least, in comparison to how I prefer it. To me, everyone in this city walks slower too. It is, of course, just a single person’s opinion, and I can’t expect the world to revolve around me.
So, in the evening, after taking a spontaneous nap (because they tend to solve everything) and before sitting down to write today’s newsletter, I decided to take a long walk.
It was then that it hit me where I had faltered: I was judging my decision prematurely. In fact, too prematurely.
My decision to move to Dehradun doesn’t even play out until I’m all set up to have the same day every day—when my new apartment is set-up, when the routine is set in stone, when the habits don’t happen sparingly throughout the day and with much pain of continuing.
So, that’s when I paused and reflected on the good this decision has brought me so far, and there were a lot of things.
- I was able to meet my friends, regularly, after six months of not seeing a familiar face without a rectangular border around them.
- I was able to sit with my parents for long hours and get annoyed at their idiosyncrasies every now and then.
- I was able to take long walks in familiar neighbourhoods, stop for coffee and have it inside the café provided the machine was on.
Even though this move has been exhausting in every definition of the word, the walk made me realise that, perhaps, most of us often judge decisions prematurely.
It could be working on Nudge › How and this newsletter too. It’s been over six months and I’m still not sure where I’m going with this project.
There is no wisdom in impatiently reaping every little benefit a decision may bring us, I guess. I think it’s all in sticking with it long enough to see if it’s any good for us. Then, cutting our losses or carrying forward with it.
However, we have to let it play itself out first. Premature evaluation for any decisions may rid us of all the potential benefits they could bring us in the long run.
We need to plant the seeds and tend to the fields before we have harvest or tragedy.
On Playlists and My Father’s Golden Advice
I make a lot of playlists. It’s not a new thing for me either. I made playlists in the pre-Spotify era too. I make them with all sorts of moods, ideas and I tend to spend a lot of time figuring out the best music that plays together.
On a family trip, I was talking about how I have the perfect playlists for when I feel angry or sad with the correct selection of songs about those feelings. That’s when my father said something spontaneously that has stuck with me since.
“If you make playlists for when you’re angry or sad, you should focus on music that gets you out of those states instead of revelling in them.”
Since then, this advice has helped me more than a couple of times. When we face a situation in life that we don’t like, our first instinct is to revel in the state. If our job gets too stressful with the work-from-home arrangement or if our relationships go awry, we tend to talk about them continually.
Instead, if we only acknowledged them and immediately switched our playlists (read: mindsets) to the desired situation, we’d fare much better in getting out of proverbial pits.
Reading List: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant
“A rational person can find peace by cultivating indifference to things outside their control.”
While I already shared this in the Sunday Weekly recommendations on the social media channels, I wanted to reiterate it. This is a highly relevant and important book, especially if you’re looking to get independent in the internet age. That is for every sense of the word.
This book has the ability to elevate any person’s mindset, in my opinion, if they’re open enough. Surprisingly, I still haven’t finished reading it. I’m stuck in the loop of constantly revisiting each chapter that I’ve already read. I believe that’s testament to how good it is if nothing else
The best part is, you don’t have to buy this book. You can download it for free at navalmanack.com.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
Last weekend, I wrote about how we can cut our losses when it comes to habits and continuing them even after long transitions in our lives.
I talked about how systems are not just your habits but also, a product of the environment they are built in.
I hope the move-centric content would cease soon. I have a plethora of ideas jotted down for newsletter entries, and other good stuff in the works for Nudge › How overall.
All in its own time though; one step at a time.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.