Quote of the week
That which isn‘t good for the hive, isn‘t good for the bee. – Marcus Aurelius
This week I was listening to a podcast about nationalism (Yoram Hazony on the Virtue of Nationalism).
One of the most interesting arguments was the following one:
Nationalism per se is not a bad thing, it allowed us to prosper in many ways: Peoples are different, history is different and environments are different. Therefore, each state requires different solutions to it‘s problems. However, what we see nowadays is that people increasingly ask „What‘s in for me?“.
This is an interesting point: Once nationalism was about the greater good for the society of the state, but it turned into egocentrism, where it’s more about the good for the individual.
I think this idea describes our zeitgeist very well: We live in a society that lives in economic prosperity for a long time now. We seem to have lost the ability to pull together and think about the common good. Even worse: we have reached the top of Maslow‘s pyramid of needs and increasingly care about ourselves more than others.
What I learned this week
Care less what other people think
It‘s extremely interesting in which ways society influences our own bahavior. Again I come back to a statement I posted already twice: „People underestimate the influence of the tribe they are in.“ – Morgan Housel
But why does this happen?
10000 years ago, it greatly mattered how people in our tribe perceived us. Those 50 people around us decided wether we would survive & reproduce. People had few options and if you fucked up and your tribe abandoned you, the odds of survival would be pretty limited.
That‘s a scary scenario, therefore the anxiety of fucking up in a social setting is deeply baked into our genes.
Fast forward 10000 years and it does not matter if we fuck up. Nowadays we are exposed to tribes far bigger than 50 people and everyone fucks up from time to time. However, we are still very much influenced by what we think other people think of us.
This will make us miserable in many ways as we are abandoning our authentic voice. We do things because we think it‘s cool in other people‘s eyes. And if we get rejected, it hurts even more because the illusion of social proof is shattered.
The solution is to get in touch with the things we actually love. It‘s no easy process but it‘s well worth while doing.
There are different kinds of „smart“
When we talk about being smart, bright or intelligent, we have very specific ideas of what that means. However, being smart also has to do with some traits that are widely overlooked – such as:
- Accepting that your field of expertise is no more important than any other field, leading to „read outside of your own competence“ and connecting the dots
- Thinking about balancing risk the right way: Be willing to make bold moves to expose yourself to success & learning but don‘t risk loosing everything
- Using facts to make your stories credible; A good story with a decent idea will always beat a great idea with a mediocre story
- Humility is not the idea that you could be wrong – given how little you experienced in the world you are probably wrong. It‘s about understanding how other people make decisions
- Be aware that you have the same flaws as everyone else; build your environment to strategically avoid those flaws
Cool thing of the week
Two days ago a painting of the British artist Banksy was sold at an auction for close to 1 M pounds. After it was sold, something unbelievable happened: the frame shredded the image.
Bansky is well known for his critisicm of (art) society. If you have not seen his movie „Exit through the gift shop“ yet, watch it.