Leaving Things Better

"You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to." – Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting

Leaving Things Better

Don’t be a pumice picker.

I'll always remember the first time I climbed to the summit of Mt. St. Helens in the mid-2000s. Although we had planned every detail on how to ascend the 8,365ft climb to the crater wall safely, the flash cold front that hit us overnight, followed by unexpected snow and ice, just added to the adventure.

Outside of a few pictures (of a terrible view due to the fog and wind), I only remember a little of the actual climb.

However, I distinctly remember the signs all over the place, reminding climbers and tourists not to remove any of the fallen debris or pumice ejected from the volcanic blast. The signposts read: "Don't be a pumice picker."

The idea is that this is to allow nature to repair itself slowly. Don't interfere with the natural order of things.

While this may be good for planet earth, I've said in previous posts: 'The most dangerous words to any career, company, etc., are 'that's not the way we used to do it.' If you, your team, your attitude, or even your thinking chooses not to evolve, it will become extinct.'

Often you find that a 'don't rattle the boat' mentality is present everywhere around us.

A mindset shift I've tried to strive towards consciously is that you should 'leave things better than you found them.'

You can apply this to any aspect of life - a relationship, work, treating people/nature, cleaning up after yourself, doing the laundry, mentoring people, etc. It's crucial to practice stewardship where you can.

Sometimes this involves having to have complex conversions. Uncomfortable ones. Deep work.

This is a bit different from an "own your shit" mindset, but rather, working towards a model where you build up things around you. Cultivate people, organizations, and relationships so that they grow into something better.

These are the things that build lasting impressions that cement real change.

There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well. This movement will never survive; if you join them, you and your entire family will be shunned. At best, you will exist a pariah to be spat at and beaten-at worst, to be lynched or crucified.
Haskell Moore, Cloud Atlas

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Mind Benders



True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.

I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel ‘Catch-22’
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
Not bad! Rest in peace!

— Kurt Vonnegut, The New Yorker in May of 2005

Brain Dump

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

  • If you haven't seen Tetris on AppleTV+, I highly recommend giving it a spin. After watching, I was searching for more details (obviously, the film version was a bit dramatized), and I came across this wonderful post on finite and infinite games. The premise is that you should 'Tetrify' life choices; 'imagine each shape representing a choice or a skill attained... How do these choices all stack and fit together?' A fun read which had me thinking about choices. — [via Tetrify your choices]
  • File under 'the men who stare at goats' level of wackiness, but apparently, there was 'Project Gateway .'Described as a way 'to help people convert the energy of their minds and bodies into a kind of laser beam that can transcend spacetime', it kinda seemed like meditation more than anything else. — [via 40 Years Ago, the CIA Tried to Decode Consciousness and Unlock Time Travel]
  • I'm sure you've seen it already. Still, in case you missed it, the Steve Jobs Archive released a free e-book this week which contains 'a curated collection of photographs, emails, speeches, and interviews, some of which have never previously been seen by the public.' A wonderful read. It's free, so there's no reason not to check it out. — [via Make Something Wonderful]
  • Today, I learned that you could not only 'tweak AirPods Pro to do stuff like amplifying soft sounds and tuning Transparency Mode to boost further audio to focus on a person in front of you' but you can 'upload an audiogram to create a custom profile' on how your ears hear. Rather amazing! — [via Customize Your AirPods Pro for Even Better Sound]
  • I loved this one: 'some things can be taught, others need to be experienced.' — [via Book Smart or Street Smart]
  • I am on day 440 of my Wordle streak, so I was super excited to learn about their latest game, Digits. The idea is simple: 'You get six numbers and four basic math operations. You can add, subtract, multiply, or divide any pair of the six numbers. The goal is to reach the target number.', yet the game is entertaining and addicting. I also found this post on how they go from an idea to creating new games super interesting. — [via How Does The New York Times Make a Game?]
  • Who doesn't remember Chuck E. Cheese from their childhood? I just now found out about their whole backstory. — [via Robots, Pizza, And Sensory Overload: The Chuck E. Cheese Origin Story]
  • We've seen it before with athletes leaking sensitive maps via fitness trackers, now apparently, gamers are leaking classified military documents to get ahead in video games. — [via ANOTHER Guy Has Leaked Classified Military Documents On The SAME TANK GAME'S forums]
  • If there's a game I'm going to play at a casino, I've always been drawn to roulette. Although the craps table seems to have the most 'fun' around it, something has always appealed to me about that wheel game of chance. This was a crazy read about Niko Tosa, who had a 'knack for roulette and walked away with several thousand pounds each time' who learned to understand variances in the 'condition of the wheel' to win consistently. Brilliant. — [via Gambler Who Beat Roulette Found Way to Win Beyond Red or Black]
  • I had never heard of BalloonFest, but in 1986, 'approximately 1.5 million balloons were released into the air above the city of Cleveland in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record. But what started as a fundraising stunt designed to benefit the United Way of Cleveland turned into a disaster.' What followed: car accidents, plane delays, and two deaths. — [via How Cleveland’s Balloonfest ‘86 Became a Public Disaster]
  • I enjoyed this concept of 'slack' that Martin Fowler highlights here. 'Slack is the policy of deliberately leaving time not allocated for stories, using that time for unplanned work. It feels like everyone needs more slack time in their daily routine. — [via Slack]

This Weeks Vibe

"This whole month has been a heck of a week" is the best way it's been described.

You have to learn to pace yourself
You're just like everybody else
You've only had to run so far
So good
But you will come to a place
Where the only thing you feel
Are loaded guns in your face
And you'll have to deal with

Be well. ✌🏻

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Jamie Larson