Surface v Depth

"I learned that just beneath the surface there's another world, and still different worlds as you dig deeper. I knew it as a kid, but I couldn't find the proof. It was just a kind of feeling." - David Lynch

showing a deep universe that is split between what's on top, and what's below the surface
AI Generated "Surface v Depth"

I enjoyed listening to Reese Witherspoon on Adam Grant's Re:Thinking podcast last weekend. It was one of those rare finds that not only inspired me with a good 6-10 ideas for future posts but was one that I had to share amongst friends quickly. I sent it to 10 people before I had finished listening.

It was that good.

Part of the conversation (rooted 'on turning impostor syndrome into confidence') on 'surface acting' vs. 'deep acting' clicked off an idea in my head.

It comes from doing the work, the pre-work, which is, that's not surface stuff. It's really deep stuff. If you come from, you know, you grew up in Beverly Hills and you grew up very wealthy and you were able to have spending money as a teenager, you're gonna act different than a kid who grew up in Omaha and with a single mom and not knowing if you're gonna get a new pair of sneakers that year or the next year. And that, you know, if you don't work hard and use every advantage, you're never gonna get ahead. So those are just two completely different mentalities.

The part that resonated with me was how so many things we deal with daily are just surface problems.

Basic tasks.

This is often simple shallow work with an often inappropriate amount of time and energy because it's easy to get someone or some project over the latest speed bump. I can't even start to imagine how much time is often swallowed by others focusing on empty calories — the seemingly quick wins to problems.

It may come down to the fact that serious problems are complex. They take time. Humans gravitate to easy laundry lists of things to tick off to move from A to B without addressing (or sometimes thinking) the real issues.

Challenging, deep-rooted issues.

So I'll challenge you this week: Spend some time digging into some type of real problem. If you see something that is a constant pattern, short-term fix, pivot to tackle the problem in a way that will cause a mindset shift or long-lasting, meaningful change.

Be the wolf. Fix problems; don't put bandaids on top, and see what you can accomplish.

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

A new section, without commentary, where I drop in a video/talk that was a bit of a 'stop and think' moment for me.


A new section, without commentary, to start dropping in a quote from the week that had impact for me.
"Create your life rather than live it." - James Clear

And from his blog:

Think about this: you’re going to spend the next 10 years doing something.

Too often that something is responding to what is urgent instead of pursuing what is important.

Brain Dump

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

  • It's been twenty years since I've even been to a Mcdonald's, but this look at their early menus was interesting. Originally starting as a BBQ restaurant, you could grab a 'pure beef hamburger' for a mere 15 cents. Looking at the original recipes, it reminds me of smashburgers. — [via Early McDonald’s Menus]
  • I'll use a few new terms I came across this week: Quake Books and View Quakes. These are the books, music, talks, etc., that not just give you a few ideas but fundamentally have a massive impact on your life. Ideas that rock your perspective (and I need to start a page where I can share a few of those I've had). — [via Quake Books That Shake Your Foundations and Rattle Your Brain]
  • Let the AI madness/fever continue as ChatGPT passes the US Medical Licensing Exam, and why not trust it for real-world diagnoses, as the results can be deadly. — [via I’m an ER doctor: Here’s what I found when I asked ChatGPT to diagnose my patients]
  • One area I have found interesting is using AI to challenge my thinking or as a companion when solving a problem. I've been playing a TON with Petey (an excellent ChatGPT client for the Apple Watch and phone) and have found it fun/insightful when looking at code, or playing with the writing style. — [via Thinking companion, companion for thinking]
  • This is an important article for me on when you should be (and shouldn't be) generous with your time. I guess I'll put it out there - I write this newsletter to clear my head and share ideas - not as a way to generate revenue or a path to get access to "my day job." I've found a huge uptick recently in readers supporting my work, and when I say "thanks," it turns into a solicitation call. Not cool. And it feels even more creepy when you call my cell phone - just as an FYI - all 'unknown callers' go directly to voicemail and are usually blocked. — [via Just say no sometimes]
  • Loved this one on the zero-day problem - and how 'the difference between whether that excitement survives, and the user becomes an evangelist, or it dies, and the user becomes a detractor.' You never get a second chance to make a first impression. — [via The Day Zero Problem]
  • One of the best career advice pieces is to learn continuously, and this post on 'fixed goals, tunnel vision, and attentional bias' nails the problems with attentional bias. — [via Why You Need ‘Flexible Goals’ for Success & Happiness]
  • I was commenting to someone last week regarding this memory of my grandfather teaching me how to read the stock market in the newspaper, something that most will never experience today. This post dives into the vicious cycle as mobile phones (and technology in general) change our neural pathways to lead us to use technology when we don't even have to. — [via How mobile phones have changed our brains]
  • I got my first tattoo a few months ago (and that probably warrants a bit of a post about life compasses), so I thought it was humorous that maybe 15 people sent me this link. — [via Tattoos do odd things to the immune system]
  • After listening to Reese Witherspoon on Adam Grant's Re:Thinking podcast, I wanted to explore further some of the mindset she's put into her company Hello Sunshine. "Stand in your truth" and 'recognize that ambition isn't about doing it yourself but remaining adaptable, resilient, and self-aware' are some of the gems in what she has built. — [via 5 Things I Learned From Reese Witherspoon's Company Hello Sunshine]
  • "I feel old" is something my wife consistently yells at me for saying. I turn 52 in a few weeks, and my body can't do what it used to, but I loved this article on reframing your thinking around 'how old you are in your head'. Learn more about the idea of 'subjective age.' — [via I’m 53 years old. I'm 36 in my head.]

This Weeks Vibe

This week was just one of those weeks. I'm sure you can relate - where you feel like no matter how many times you get back up, Clubber Lang punches you in the head. Again. And Again.

The best way through it for me is to breathe.

Re-learning the art of breathing can do amazing things for controlling stress (read: Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art), healing, and recovery. I need to do more of it, honestly.

So while the 2009 Pearl Jam song is about 'coming to terms with mortality and appreciating ones we love,' it was just one I kept returning to as a reminder that 'nothing lasts forever.' Breathe. Memento Mori.

Stay with me. Let's just breathe
Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn't, I'm a fool you see
No one knows this more than me
As I come clean

Be well. ✌🏻

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Jamie Larson