Manage The Moments

"You mustn’t be afraid to dream up little bigger, darling." - Eames (Tom Hardy), Inception

A beautiful sunny day at Snoqualmie Falls.

Hello, friend.

You may (or may not have) noticed that I took a week off from writing last week (#restdaybrag). It was a pretty chaotic week, followed by my birthday (which, for many, is a complete source of stress and probably another post topic), and it was just one of those moments where I had to focus on my mental well-being. Throw down the pen, remove distractions, and take care of my shit.

And for those who have known me for a long time, you already know I am no stranger to stress. My second heart attack was caused by stress, and I'm overly sensitive when I pick up the signs when I feel pressure coming on. I try to avoid it. But often, being human, I fall into old patterns and cycles, and oops, there it is - I find myself being stressed out again.

Rinse and repeat.

One of the tools in my tool-belt of stress-management tactics that I try to utilize when I feel this building is to hit my commonplace journal as a source of inspiration. My digital commonplace journal is a guide to put my mind on a better path, where I store quotes and nuggets of information that I find in random places that, hopefully, will be valuable someday. It leads me to this excerpt from the book, The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton.

Manage moments — not just practices, policies, and systems. Effective asshole management means focusing on and changing the little things that you and your people do — and big changes will follow. Reflect on what you do, watch how others respond to you and to one another, and work on tweaking what happens as you are interacting with the person in front of you right now.

Little changes add to big things over time. In each of our own little way, I hope everyone is striving to be a badass at life - it's an important takeaway to think about the minor tweaks or actions you can do every day/week/month to inch closer to become a better human.

I'm not sure if that resonates loudly for folks (I swear I haven't had any whiskey this morning), but it's an important one for me now that I'm 52 (holy shit!) that grounds me.

One of the little things I've been working on for the last year is the idea of mentorship. Not only carving out time to mentor others but also seeking guidance from those who have been down the path before. This is the spirit of a 'personal board of directors.' They can help you through all these times of stress.

Ironically, Michael B. Johnson (@drwave), posted one of the best pieces of advice this morning that I instantly added to my commonplace journal:

My advice to you:
get a mentor.
Ideally, 10-20 yrs older than you.
Be impressed/intimidated just enough - if you can't make them laugh, bail.
Treasure their stories.
Tell them back to confirm.
It's worked for me.

Anyways - I'm rambling. I hope this post finds you well and that you're spending a little time every day tweaking little things to make something better.

If you enjoy these posts, you can buy me a coffee ☕️, check out my store or just share my work. If you'd rather just keep up with my daily ramblings, follow me via your favorite RSS reader, via Mastodon or keep reading my posts on this blog. Your support is much appreciated!

Mind Benders


via Matt Shirley (@mattsurely)

Brain Dump

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

  • I freaking loved this post on software engineering and what's going on with everyone running toward AI and the concerns around it. 'Software engineering exists as a discipline because you cannot EVER under any circumstances TRUST CODE. That's why we have reviewers. And linters. And debuggers. And unit tests. And integration tests. And staging environments. And runbooks. And all of goddamned Operational Excellence. And security checkers, and compliance scanners, and on, and on and on!' — [via Cheating is All You Need]
  • A very David and Goliath read on how not only to 'face competition from bigger companies,' but to flip the narrative 'and take the initiative and be aggressive.' — [via How to Beat Larger Competitors]
  • I've been feeling it for a while, but there's 'a pattern that all social media apps seem doomed to repeat — to veer from their initial promise of a place to connect and share with friends and family, toward something entirely different.' — [via Social media is doomed to die]
  • My wife, Liz, made a fantastic paella last week, but the topic of conversation was about the socarrat, which is the the layer of rice that forms at the bottom of the pan and gets crispy caramelized from the direct heat. Yes, it was delicious. — [via The Truth About Whether Or Not Paella Is Supposed To Be Burned]
  • 'It's far better to stand for something than stand for nothing' — [via Which Hill Will You Die On?]
  • I loved this post from author Adam Grant. The takeaway was that 'just saying something like "this isn't urgent, so get to it whenever you can" was enough to alleviate the perceived pressure to respond quickly.' it was just what I needed this week. — [via Your Email Does Not Constitute My Emergency]
  • This is so 2023, but 'researchers in the US have taken an unconventional approach to wildlife monitoring using dead birds.' By turning them into drones. What the hell? — [via Researchers in the US are turning dead birds into hi-tech drones]
  • As a kid, I loved having subscriptions to Computer Shopper and Byte magazines. It's been years since I've thought about them, but when I read this article about the demise of computer magazines, a wave of sadness fell over me. — [via The End of Computer Magazines in America]
  • Chess. Who would have thought the game had become a quiet phenomenon among teens? No one knows how, but I've found my teen playing a lot lately. Not only has it been banned at schools, a new strategy where 'a player gets a third person to give out constant terrible advice to both teams hoping that his opponent falls for it straight-up or that his opponent thinks HE fell for it and will act accordingly thus worsening their strategy.' 'The evil advisor gambit' is just genius — [via Why teens are suddenly obsessed with chess]
  • As Barry, Season 4 begins, it was fascinating to read about Bill Hader's anxiety, how he's dealt with it, and the tools he's developed in therapy, including 'letting go of false truths.' — [via The Hollywood Reporter]

This Weeks Vibe

It's been a stressful few weeks, and I'm working hard to get past it.

Chippin' around, kick my brains 'round the floor
These are the days it never rains but it pours
Ee-doh-ba-buh, ee-da-ba-ba-bop
Mm-bo-bop, beh-lup
People on streets, ee-da-dee-da-day
People on streets, ee-da-dee-da-dee-da-dee-da

Be well. ✌🏻

Subscribe to Makoism

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson