School starts here on August 9th and we are on vacation with friends before heading back to a more regular routine. We finally pulled off Cousin’s Camp last week. I’ll describe it at the end of the letter for those interested.
I’ll keep things short otherwise.
Instead of reading anything I wrote this week, check out these 2 TED talks by Mark Rober. He has one of the most followed YouTube channels and deservedly so.
Watch his YT videos. Watch how he approaches problems. Watch how he communicates. I’ve watched most of his vids with my kids several times. These Ted talks are amazingly put together. The presentation, the ease in which he directs the production, the off-hand humor that breaks up transitions, and the genuine enthusiasm. He’s tirelessly uplifting.
Our culture is buried in irony and memes. I’m not immune. I follow shitposters because it’s an art in itself. If Jonathan Swift or Oscar Wilde were alive today they’d have 7-figure follower counts. But when sound bytes become a sport, it turns the volume down on earnestness and mutes nuance.
Rober is holding the ladder when so many others are trying to kick it. He does it with a smile. He shows you the formula. And he’s honest in a way that distances himself from the saccharine, even toxic, positivity that the crystal woo crowd pushes with not so much as a wink.
I want to point out one more thing. Rober is a scientist. By definition, he’s a skeptic. He must carry a sack of hypotheses he wanted dearly to embrace, but reality forced him to reject. And yet, he wields that skepticism as a tool. A scalpel. Not a personality.
I’m a 44-year-old dude and I still have heroes. You can put your ego aside and have them too. There are people who I try to channel. They are models of how I want to respond to others. How I want to listen. How I want to think. It’s not about wanting to be them. It’s about incorporating what inspires you about others into yourself. If you practice this, you eventually integrate it and give it your own flavor. Just like you play covers to learn guitar before your style develops. Look, most of your personality is modeled anyway. Might as well be conscious about it.
Enough earnestness from me. Go watch the vids:
This vid gives a 3 bullet point answer to an important question that, if you have retained any playfulness in your life, you might still wonder about: