Circling the Drain

“We're all puppets, Laurie. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings.” - Dr. Manhattan


Why not... let's throw this one out to the Internet and see what happens.

Negative people suck. They just suck to be around. No matter what happens, they can't be happy, and when nothing wrong is going on, they create chaos. They are like an anti-matter black hole that sucks the life out of you—crushing your spirit and soul into a place of never-ending darkness.

Did you know that they can even cause you health problems?

Research has shown that even a small amount of negative brain activity can lead to a weakened immune system, making you more prone to illness, and even lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

By no means do I pretend to be a happy-go-lucky, always look-on-the positive-side-of-things person (I'd argue I'm more realist), but as I get older - I don't want to be around it anymore. Life’s too damn short.

Like all things, it's all a work in progress. Some things I’m trying:

  • Live more in the moment.
  • Look at negative situations as a call to action rather than a defeat.
  • Cutting negative people as much as I can from my day and trying to spend more time with those genuinely happy.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of getting drawn into the silly drama that doesn't add anything of value.

Most importantly - I'm trying hard to focus on things in my control, let go of things outside of my control, and recognize what's real.

Maybe this is called a "realistic optimist."

David Hieatt talks about "the time bank" from the book 'Do Purpose':

Each day, you're given 86,400 seconds from the 'Time Bank'. Everyone is given the same. There are no exceptions. Once you make your withdrawal, you're free to spend it as you want. The 'Time Bank' won't tell you how to spend it. Time poorly spent will not be replaced with more time. Time doesn't do refunds.

Time is your biggest gift. Indeed, it is more valuable than money as you can make more money, but not more time. But there is one simple truth: Your time is limited. And one day you will go to the bank and it won't have any more for you. And it will be at the exact moment that you will know the answer to this simple question: Did I use my time well?

I don't know about you, but since 2020, it's been a bit of a breaking point for me on this stuff. I've worked hard to stop spending time focusing on those harmful black holes and not wasting any one of those 86,400 seconds circling the proverbial toilet drain.

Choose Life.

If you enjoy these posts, you can buy me a coffee ☕️, or if you'd rather keep up with my daily ramblings, follow me on Twitter or keep reading my posts on this blog.

Forward Thinking

I've spent my fair share of time documenting my Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) process. See my annual review, and "The Mind Palace".

But two articles this week got me thinking.

First is The Fall of Roam.

After some time, though, reality started to sink in. 'I am not really going back through all of these notes as often as I thought I would.' My next automatic assumption is that if they were just organized better I might go through them more. And so, the question starts to creep in again. 'Where should I put this?'

And then, Notes apps are where ideas go to die. And that's good.

You think of something, write it down, and feel free. Find something else, bookmark it, and close the tab without worry. If you need that discovery again, it's only a few taps away. The placebo effect—or, at least, the new app effect—is real.

By letting go, you've cleared up space for new quests. No more dozens of tabs open forever; you saved them, then let them go back into the ether. No perpetual thinking on an idea; you wrote it down, let your second brain remember for you.

Then we're free. We've stalked the prey, secured it for later nourishment. We can safely forget. We've insured against faulty memories. Now on to the next quest, finding something new to stash.

That's the true value of notebooks, notes apps, bookmarking tools, and everything else built to help us remember. They're insurance for ideas. They let us forget.

Now I'm on the cusp of just burning my entire legacy PKM-interlinked-automated world down to the ground.

I want simple. I don't want to hoard notes. I want to be free of the promise of stashing all this stuff away for some enlightenment down the road.

I'm not sure where this will end—probably another blog post. But I love this idea of constantly challenging myself on things on apps, processes, workflows that at one time were a 'super-power.'

More to come.

Thought of the week

This is exactly how I make guac for the kids when they need it done quickly.

Here are a few of the articles and videos that resonated with me over the last week:

  • A few articles this week centered around a new hire who showed up to the first day on the job, not being the same person that interviewed. Read all about "That Wild Ask A Manager Story" - More, More and More
  • Speaking of fake employees - "The elaborate con that tricked dozens into working for a fake design agency." Your heart has to go out to the remote employees who spent months working for free for a company that didn't even exist. - More
  • I love explorations around what's next, especially when it comes to personal area networks. "The Ultimate Minimalist Phone," thinks about this from the lens of going Apple Watch only; as a way to remove the demands of a smartphone but keeping it as a lite communications device - More
  • Speaking of the Apple Watch, this one explores a cool idea around "The Travel Focus Mode." This mode flips to a series of widgets only with the apps you need when turned on. Super interesting take - More
  • John Cutler has a good read on "Making Room For New Things." You need to "periodically review the (supposedly) high-value things that are on autopilot - ask yourself, are they still high value?" - More
  • As an espresso drinker, "The Birth of Espresso: The Story Behind the Coffee Shots That Fuel Modern Life" was quickly a must watch - More
  • Sigh. Not sure what to do about this one, as I've been a fan of Otter.AI since discovering it. It's a fantastic service that transcribes audio files (meetings, video calls, podcasts) so that you can take notes from them. But "My journey down the rabbit hole of every journalist's favorite app" reveals some of the privacy problems with these systems - More
  • Second Sight, a company that makes retinal implants, literally shuts down people's eyes. In "Their Bionic Eyes Are Now Obsolete and Unsupported" read all about the company that had a merger and left their customers in the dark - More
  • "The Strange Story of DC's Lost AM Radio Station Still Transmitting Inauguration Road Closures From 2013" explores a forgotten low power radio station (1650AM in DC) that has been broadcasting the same road closures for the last eight years - More
  • A counterintuitive approach, but "Imitate, then Innovate" explores this methodology for discovering your unique style - More
  • Fresh starts are a wonderful place to re-evaluate everything. "How returning to the craft taught me to be a better leader," tells the story of a designer who transitioned out of management and back into the field to strengthen and understand knowledge gaps to find what they needed to be a better leader - More
  • "Escaping the Comfort Zone" explores using fear as a valuable measure of change and how to aim for discomfort as a way to break from what's familiar and safe - More


I came across this new cut of "When the Levee Breaks" by John Paul Jones and various musicians around the world that I thought would be a great way to send off this week.

The song is a rework of the 1929 release by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927; "the most destructive river flooding in U.S. history."

The new video is of Jones accompanied by over 20 musicians and dancers from seven different countries. Enjoy.

Be well. ✌🏻

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Jamie Larson