Category Archives: Life Journal

2020 – Year in review for the blog

2020 marked my eighth year of blogging. Through the end of last year, I’ve published 511 posts for an average of ~65 posts/year, which I’m happy with.

As I like to do at the start of each year, here’s a look back on the year that was and a look forward to goals for 2021. In the meantime, here are the links to past editions of the annual review:

Let’s dig in with a look at traffic.

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Books to read in 2021

Looking for books to read this year? Then, do I have a list of recommendations for you. As I’ve done in prior years, this year’s list is broken down into General Recommendations, Personal Development books, Business Reads, and a collection of what I like to call Fun Reads.

Since I did a better job this year of balancing my fiction and non-fiction titles, this year’s recommendations are strong mix of recreational and serious reads. Keep in mind that my tastes lean towards technology and science fiction, so most of the books on the list are from those genres.

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The Contented Mind

Who doesn’t want to be happy? I suspect we all do.

All of us have a natural desire and tendency to want to be happy. Usually, our happiness is dependent on something. For example, how often do we say I’ll be happy when I have money, when I’m married, when I get that job, when I get a promotion, when I have a new car, when….

We are happy when our ‘when’ happens, but it doesn’t last. Happiness is temporal. It’s a point in time, an emotion. It comes. It goes. It’s not permanent.

Instead of wishing for happiness, we are better off choosing to be content. When we are content, we enable ourselves to experience happiness. As such, contentment is a precondition to being happy.

Contentment is not a point in time. It is an underlying condition that is present within everyone, at all times. Contentment means being at peace with yourself, your surroundings, your place in life. It is a state of mind that we can choose, or not choose, to be in.

If being content is a condition we can choose, how does one cultivate a contented mind?

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Measuring Character

I was recently reminded of a post that came across my blog feed a while back by Dave Winer titled – “Your human-size life.” The entire post is worth a read, but the opening is great:

In the early years of this blog I wrote a lot about the personal struggles of people who had attained financial independence only to find out that it revealed that money was not what was standing in the way of happiness.

It’s a reminder that money is important, but it isn’t everything. Sure, we need it to live, but there is a point where it isn’t about how much you have.

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Takeaways from the Pygmalion Effect

Over fifty years ago, researchers Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson performed an experiment where teachers were told which students in their class had higher potential based on the student’s performance on an IQ test. The students were tested again at the end of the year. The students the teachers were told had higher potential improved their scores more than the others. The catch? The students labeled as higher potential were not based on the test results. The researchers chose them randomly.

“Higher expectations lead to higher results” was the primary finding of the study. It’s become known as the Pygmalion Effect, or Rosenthal Effect. It’s a powerful finding that can be applied across many facets of our life.

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No such thing as a wasted vote

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

As we finally move on from the 2020 Presidential Election, I decided to reflect on my posts from four years ago. I wrote three posts following that election:

Since that time, nothing has changed. I could repost those same articles, change the year from 2016 to 2020, and they would be just as applicable today as they were then.

Given that the system has not changed, no one should be surprised at the result. The election did more to divide us than to unite us. If Einstein were alive, I believe he would agree that our process of electing a President has reached new levels of insanity.

I still believe what I stated four years ago – it’s time we had more than two viable candidates to choose from for President. If anything, this year’s election only reinforced and strengthened my belief.

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Government for Sale

California 2020 ballot proposition 22

If you have $200,000,000 lying around, there’s something new you can do with it. You can write your own law in California. That’s effectively what Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and others did recently so they could classify their employees as independent contractors. It allows them to save hundreds of millions of dollars annually by not having to pay their fair share of FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare), unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, and state and federally mandated benefits such as health benefits, family and medical leave, and paid time off.

I usually don’t get too wrapped up in politics, but this one got me pretty wound up, as those close to me can attest. But, the election’s over, the people have spoken, and Proposition 22 passed. So before I put this one behind me, there are just a few remaining items I’m going to say, and then I’ll let this one rest for good.

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