Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing it’s not the fish they are after.Henry David Thoreau – 1817-1862 – American Naturalist

Busy (and reliable) by Seth Godin.

* Busy (and reliable) [ ]

The thing that made you busy might have been the reputation you earned for being reliable.

Ironically, that very busy-ness might destroy your reputation. That’s one reason that so many service providers stumble once they begin to gain traction.

There are two things you can do before the crisis hits:

First, say “no.” A lot. The gigs you would have taken when you were struggling might not be the gigs you should take now. Your reputation for reliability earns you more trust, and that trust gets you invited to work with better clients and on better projects. The cost (benefit) of that is that you’ll need to turn down opportunities that you would have been willing to take on just a little while ago.

Second, tell the truth. It’s hard at first, particularly since our self-conception might have been built around independence and invulnerability. But being reliable doesn’t mean being perfect. It means being clear.

Two mottos that might help:

“You’ll pay a lot, but you’ll get more than you paid for.”


“Our secret is that we don’t lie to get the project.”

CD over Vinyl day

Did you know…

… that today is CD Over Vinyl Day? In 1987, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) reported that sales of CDs surpassed vinyl record albums for the first time in 1986. Celebrate today by trying to explain to a teenager what vinyl albums were. 😉

WA forward

While treating an old farmer, the Doc struck a conversation with him.
Eventually the topic got around to Rahul Gandhi and his role. The farmer said, ‘Well sahib, Rahul is a “Khambe ka Kachhua!”
Not being familiar with the term, the Doc asked, what “Khambe ka Kachhua” was? Thinking face
The old farmer said, ‘When you’re walking down a village road and if you come across a khamba (a fence post) with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a “Khambe ka Kachhua”.

The old farmer saw the puzzled look on the doctor’s face so he continued…”You know he didn’t get up there by himself,
he doesn’t belong up there,
he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there,
he’s elevated beyond his ability to function &
you just wonder which idiots put him up there, to begin with!”
The doctor was awe struck!

Never came across such a perfectly fitting, comprehensive description!
Face with tears of joyFace with tears of joyFace with tears of joy

And #RaGa turns 51 today.


Delphic DEL-fikPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: Greek, late 14th century
1(Typically of a pronouncement) deliberately obscure or ambiguous.
Examples of Delphic in a sentence “The commentators’ election predictions were Delphic and hard to follow.” “The man sitting at the bar had a mysterious, Delphic air about him.”

Intellifusion Newsletter- global security landscap

Here’s your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place from each region in the last seven days; 
Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Asia?
MIDDLE EAST & ASIAİzmir, TurkeyOn 17th June, a lone gunman broke into the office of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the Konak district of Izmir, killing one civilian. The attacker is believed to have been intending to target a planned meeting of approximately 40 party officials which was cancelled shortly before the attack. The attacker, Onur Gencer, was arrested at the scene and claimed that he carried out the attack because of his hatred for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The attacker also claimed that he was not affiliated with any group, however, images taken from Gencer’s social media accounts show him making hand gestures of the nationalist ‘Grey Wolves’ group. 
Insight Weekly - Europe Image
EUROPEBirmingham, United KingdomThis week, members of the activist group ‘Palestine Action’ disrupted the operations of the Arconic Factory in Kitts Green, Birmingham. The action began with an activist lying across the road of the factory’s entrance, appearing to divert attention away from another activist who was spraying red paint on the building. Two other activists later climbed onto the roof of the factory, apparently disrupting the factory’s operations which required police to attend. The protest was over the company’s role of doing business with the Israel Army and supplying cladding to the Grenfell Tower. Arconic appears to have become a new target for Palestine Action; whose actions are often promoted and supported by other activist groups such as the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Prior to this week, Elbit Defence Systems was targeted by Palestine Action across the UK, with factories, offices and affiliated businesses being subject to protests and vandalism. Arconic can expect the same to occur against it in the weeks to come at any factory or office they own. Additionally, any firm which conducts business with any element of the Israeli government or operates in Israel can likely anticipate that Palestine Action and other activist groups considers them a future target. With the type of direct action the group and its affiliates engage in, it may be necessary for businesses to create counter-activist procedures in order to protect their people, assets and reputation.
Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Africa?
AFRICATunis, TunisiaClashes broke out over several consecutive nights between residents and police in Sidi Hassine, Tunis Governorate, after the death of a young man in detention. The incident brought police brutality in the country into sharp focus with it occurring just days after widespread anger over footage which showed a man being stripped and beaten by police. Protests have spread to other areas of Tunis such as Intilaka and Cite Ettadhamen. The National Union of Tunisian Journalists have called for nationwide protests on 18th June to denounce police brutality. During protests in Cite Ettadhamen, protesters also condemned marginalisation, an indication that continued anger related to marginalisation and poor socio-economic conditions remain in working-class neighbourhoods in Tunis. There were widespread protests in Tunis and other cities in Tunisia in January 2021 over poor socio-economic conditions. Multiple protests against police violence have also broken out since the start of 2021, during which protesters called for Prime Minister, Hichem Mechich, to resign. Activists also expressed concern in 2020 over attempts to pass a police protection law. 
Insight Weekly - North America Image
NORTH AMERICAUnited States and MexicoOn 15th June, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security and the Foreign Secretary of Mexico agreed to strengthen measures to reduce illegal migration in the region. The move comes a week after a pact was signed to address the lack of economic opportunities in Central American countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador which makes up a large share of illegal migration. The agreement to strengthen measures comes as the number of undocumented migrants crossing the United States border has increased in recent months. Part of the agreement looks to address root causes in Central American countries, including addressing violence, corruption, and lack of economic opportunities. Illegal migration continues to be a contentious issue in the United States with Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, recently putting out a proposal to continue building barriers along the border. This would reportedly use 250 million USD in state money and crowdsourced financing. Additional details about the project are vague, and the project will likely see litigation impact it. The routes undocumented migrants use through Mexico are also plagued by security issues posed by cartel activity which puts migrants at risk of homicide, extortion, and kidnapping. Illegal migration is likely to continue at significant levels in the short-term until significant measures can be put in place to deter undocumented migrants.
Insight Weekly - South America Image
SOUTH AMERICACúcuta, ColombiaOn 15th June, a vehicle bomb exploded at a military base in Cúcuta, a city located near Colombia’s northern border with Venezuela. An SUV driven by two people posing as public officials entered the base at 12:35pm and exploded twice after it had been parked next to a building for over two hours. 36 people were wounded, including two U.S. advisors. The attack has not yet been claimed. Colombian authorities believe that the National Liberation Army (ELN) is most likely to be responsible. However, several dissident factions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) cannot be ruled out. Intelligence Fusion’s data shows that the ELN and FARC dissidents have a strong presence in the region, with both leftist guerrilla groups having used vehicle bombs before to target military and police. One faction of FARC dissidents that is particularly suspected is the Segunda Marquetalia, which may have committed the attack to avenge its leader, Jesús Santrich, who was recently killed by Colombian special forces in Venezuela.
⌨️🖥️📝 An Intelligence Fusion Report A closer look at key incidents and events, providing you with wider analysis on security trends, evolving patterns and unexplored geopolitical themes from every corner of the globe.
Insurgency in Mozambique: Oil and Gas under threat? The insurgency in Mozambique hit international headlines in early 2021 following a deadly attack on Palma – just a few kilometres away from the multi-billion dollar Total Energy site in Afungi. This report explores the origins, background, tactics, targets, significant activities of the group behind these attacks, some possible scenarios going forward, and the threat level presented by the Mozambique insurgency.
Read now

Interesting phrase” Tall Poppy Syndrome”

The tall poppy syndrome is the cultural phenomenon of jealous people holding back or directly attacking those who are perceived to be better than the norm, “cutting down the tall poppy“. It describes a draw towards humility.

Commonly in Australia and New Zealand, “Cutting down the tall poppy” is used to describe those who deliberately put down another for another’s success and achievements.

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict – 19 June

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict – 19 June 

This day commemorates the victims and survivors of sexual violence and pays tribute to those who have stood up to eradicate these crimes. 

Content marketing ideas:     

  • Listicle idea: X Tips to help a victim of domestic abuse/violence  
  • Infographic idea: X Subtle signs of an emotionally abusive relationship  
  • Video idea: Why is it so difficult to get out of a toxic relationship? 
  • Podcast idea: How can you talk to your child about sexual abuse? 

Bootstrapped founder Newsletter on SELF PROMOTION.

Dear founder,

I used to think all self-promotion was wrong — at all times.

Being raised in Germany, I developed a severe case of tall poppy syndrome — the phenomenon of people holding back so they wouldn’t stand out from the rest. It’s an eclectic mix of jealousy and self-limitation, and I have realized just how destructive it can be not to promote yourself for this reason. Self-promotion is a necessary part of building something meaningful in public. People won’t find you or your work when you don’t share it with the world.

But not all self-promotion is right, either. Too many times have I seen people join a community only to immediately blast their advertisements into the activity feeds and comment boxes of the platform they just became a part of. Shortly after, a disgruntled community administrator will have booted the spammer out of the community, leaving nothing but a bitter aftertaste and a lot of cleanup work.

If you prefer listening over reading, you can listen to this episode of The Bootstrapped Founder on my podcast.

There is a line between self-empowerment and enraging a community. There is a way to self-promote without causing the recipients to frown at what you have to say. Two methods of self-promotion exist: selfish and selfless self-promotion. Let’s talk about both, how they are received, and which one you can reliably use for your own entrepreneurial ambitions.

There is one defining difference between the two: a selfish self-promoter says, “I made this!”, while the selfless self-promoter says, “I made this for you!

Selfless Self-Promotion

If you have been part of a community for a while, listened to their conversations, understood the challenges they face by participating in the community, and are working on a solution with and for the people in it, talking about your work will always happen within the context of your previous engagement with the community. It will never be seen as an aimless advertisement.

This context is vital: if people understand that you’re not promoting yourself alone but are actually promoting something for them, they will meet your messages with encouragement and support.

You can witness this on Twitter all the time. An entrepreneur who has been sharing their knowledge for weeks and months compiles their expertise into a course or an ebook. They launch their product which is met with resounding approval by the community, often being significantly amplified.

People support creators in their marketing efforts because they want them to succeed. The creator’s success is their success because there is a certain level of identification between the creator and their audience. This relationship removes any notion of selfishness from public perception. A product created with and for a community of real people experiencing real problems can’t be the result of a selfish act.

It is this quality of selflessness that makes community-friendly self-promotion possible. Instead of climbing on a stage, having all the lights pointed at you, and loudly proclaiming what a genius founder you are for having created this product, you are a peer among the other people in your community, and you contribute a solution to a critical problem that is widely felt in the community. Your contribution is all about them.

Selfish Self-Promotion

Now, let’s look at the exact opposite. Selfish self-promotion is the rotten apple that spoils the bunch for the rest of us. If all you care about is making a quick buck by spamming your affiliate links into a community, you’ll quickly find that people will promptly boo you off their stage.

It’s just disrespectful. You joined a community that took years to establish. People have been building social structures and formed long-term relationships there. Who are you to break open the door, yell about your product that nobody knows about, and expect to be responded to kindly?

Without context, people will always be skeptical. Particularly when defending their communities, they’ll be cautious. You are obligated to show that you’re benign and have good intentions before you can talk about your work. This takes time and effort — both of these are at the core of community-building.

If you don’t put in the work, you won’t see any results.

If you don’t make your promotion about the people it’s actually for, you will earn distrust. You will be considered a danger to the integrity of the community you’re advertising in.

If you make your self-promotion about yourself and not your peers, you leave no chance for them to find themselves in your story.

The only way to self-promote in a world of tight-knit communities is to selflessly self-promote.

On that note…

This episode of the Bootstrapped Founder newsletter is sponsored by… me! Please check out my latest book, The Embedded Entrepreneur, which will teach you how to find problems that are worth solving by embedding yourself in a community. You’ll learn how to find the people you’ll want to serve, how to get into their communities, and how to build an audience while you build a product with and for the people you’re surrounding yourself with.

Head over to to learn more. And tell your friends: riches are in the niches, and we can all find the people we’re mean to serve and build a life-changing business in the process.

Communities and Self-Promotion

Now that you can focus on being selfless in your marketing efforts, a word of warning: many communities still consider all self-promotion to be selfish. They have witnessed too many veiled attempts by marketers trying to subvert their communities into an advertisement channel.

Reddit is the archetype of a “no self-promotion” platform. Most Reddit communities have stringent rules and will quickly ban people who promote their products or services. In fact, Reddit is known to apply these rules strictly to the very administrators who enforce those rules.

Here’s a tip:

  1. Reach out to moderators long before you even start talking about your stuff.
  2. Ask them how you can talk about your work without sounding selfish.
  3. Explain to them what motivates you and how you want to help their community.

Every community treats this differently, so you will need to do your research and talk to the people protecting the community from harm.

You’ll see diverging levels of acceptance and understanding for self-promotion depending on the platform you’re using. Where Reddit is very extreme in suppressing self-promotion, platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter will be much more forgiving.

A rule of thumb is the presence of invite-only groups or self-governance. Once you’re in an exclusive group or a community governed not by a central platform but by the community members, be wary: retribution for selfish self-promotion without context will be swift.

We live in a world of tribal communities that are very protective of the structures they have built. Don’t expect to be able to market your business without contributing to communities first. Understand that it will take time and significant effort to establish a reputation within a community — but the rewards are plentiful. Once people understand the context of your self-promotion to be about them, they will amplify and support your efforts in ways you never imagined before.

“I built this FOR YOU!” is the core of every selfless self-promotion approach. Make everything about your audience, and they will make it happen for you.

Thank you for reading this week’s edition of The Bootstrapped Founder.

If you like what I wrote about, please forward the newsletter to anyone you think would enjoy it too.

You can find my book Zero to Sold at and The Embedded Entrepreneur at

If you want to help me share my thoughts and ideas with the world, please share this episode of the newsletter on Twitter or wherever you like, or reach out on Twitter at @arvidkahl.

See you next week!

Warm Regards from Berlin,



Burgeon BUR-jənPart of speech: verbOrigin: Old French, 14th century
1Begin to grow or increase rapidly; flourish.
Examples of Burgeon in a sentence “The market for feminist literature has burgeoned over the last five years.” “Austin’s suburbs continue to burgeon because it’s so trendy.” Newsletter I like


This is Brain Pickings midweek pick-me-up, drawn from my fifteen-year archive of ideas unblunted by time, resurfaced as timeless nourishment for heart, mind, and spirit. (If you don’t yet subscribe to the standard Sunday newsletter of new pieces published each week, you can sign up here — it’s free.) If you missed last week’s edition — how to love: the great Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on mastering the art of “interbeing” — you can catch up right here. If my labor of love enriches your life in any way, please consider supporting it with a donation – all these years, I have spent tens of thousands of hours, made many personal sacrifices, and invested tremendous resources in Brain Pickings, which remains free and ad-free and alive thanks to reader patronage. If you already donate: THANK YOU.

FROM THE ARCHIVE | An Antidote to the Age of Anxiety: Alan Watts on Happiness and How to Live with Presence

alanwatts_wisdomofinsecurity.jpg?w=680“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard wrote in her timeless reflection on presence over productivity — a timely antidote to the central anxiety of our productivity-obsessed age. Indeed, my own New Year’s resolution has been to stop measuring my days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence. But what, exactly, makes that possible?

This concept of presence is rooted in Eastern notions of mindfulness — the ability to go through life with crystalline awareness and fully inhabit our experience — largely popularized in the West by British philosopher and writer Alan Watts (January 6, 1915–November 16, 1973), who also gave us this fantastic meditation on the life of purpose. In the altogether excellent 1951 volume The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety (public library), Watts argues that the root of our human frustration and daily anxiety is our tendency to live for the future, which is an abstraction. He writes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngIf to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are “crying for the moon.” We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty, and to the best of our knowledge every one of us is going to suffer and die. If, then, we cannot live happily without an assured future, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen, and where death comes at the end.


Alan Watts, early 1970s (Image courtesy of Everett Collection)

What keeps us from happiness, Watts argues, is our inability to fully inhabit the present:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThe “primary consciousness,” the basic mind which knows reality rather than ideas about it, does not know the future. It lives completely in the present, and perceives nothing more than what is at this moment. The ingenious brain, however, looks at that part of present experience called memory, and by studying it is able to make predictions. These predictions are, relatively, so accurate and reliable (e.g., “everyone will die”) that the future assumes a high degree of reality — so high that the present loses its value.

But the future is still not here, and cannot become a part of experienced reality until it is present. Since what we know of the future is made up of purely abstract and logical elements — inferences, guesses, deductions — it cannot be eaten, felt, smelled, seen, heard, or otherwise enjoyed. To pursue it is to pursue a constantly retreating phantom, and the faster you chase it, the faster it runs ahead. This is why all the affairs of civilization are rushed, why hardly anyone enjoys what he has, and is forever seeking more and more. Happiness, then, will consist, not of solid and substantial realities, but of such abstract and superficial things as promises, hopes, and assurances.

Watts argues that our primary mode of relinquishing presence is by leaving the body and retreating into the mind — that ever-calculating, self-evaluating, seething cauldron of thoughts, predictions, anxieties, judgments, and incessant meta-experiences about experience itself. Writing more than half a century before our age of computers, touch-screens, and the quantified self, Watts admonishes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThe brainy modern loves not matter but measures, no solids but surfaces.


The working inhabitants of a modern city are people who live inside a machine to be batted around by its wheels. They spend their days in activities which largely boil down to counting and measuring, living in a world of rationalized abstraction which has little relation to or harmony with the great biological rhythms and processes. As a matter of fact, mental activities of this kind can now be done far more efficiently by machines than by men — so much so that in a not too distant future the human brain may be an obsolete mechanism for logical calculation. Already the human computer is widely displaced by mechanical and electrical computers of far greater speed and efficiency. If, then, man’s principal asset and value is his brain and his ability to calculate, he will become an unsaleable commodity in an era when the mechanical operation of reasoning can be done more effectively by machines.


If we are to continue to live for the future, and to make the chief work of the mind prediction and calculation, man must eventually become a parasitic appendage to a mass of clockwork.

To be sure, Watts doesn’t dismiss the mind as a worthless or fundamentally perilous human faculty. Rather, he insists that it if we let its unconscious wisdom unfold unhampered — like, for instance, what takes place during the “incubation” stage of unconscious processing in the creative process — it is our ally rather than our despot. It is only when we try to control it and turn it against itself that problems arise:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngWorking rightly, the brain is the highest form of “instinctual wisdom.” Thus it should work like the homing instinct of pigeons and the formation of the fetus in the womb — without verbalizing the process or knowing “how” it does it. The self-conscious brain, like the self-conscious heart, is a disorder, and manifests itself in the acute feeling of separation between “I” and my experience. The brain can only assume its proper behavior when consciousness is doing what it is designed for: not writhing and whirling to get out of present experience, but being effortlessly aware of it.

And yet the brain does writhe and whirl, producing our great human insecurity and existential anxiety amidst a universe of constant flux. (For, as Henry Miller memorably put it, “It is almost banal to say so yet it needs to be stressed continually: all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis.”) Paradoxically, recognizing that the experience of presence is the only experience is also a reminder that our “I” doesn’t exist beyond this present moment, that there is no permanent, static, and immutable “self” which can grant us any degree of security and certainty for the future — and yet we continue to grasp for precisely that assurance of the future, which remains an abstraction. Our only chance for awakening from this vicious cycle, Watts argues, is bringing full awareness to our present experience — something very different from judging it, evaluating it, or measuring it up against some arbitrary or abstract ideal. He writes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThere is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. But the contradiction lies a little deeper than the mere conflict between the desire for security and the fact of change. If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. To be secure means to isolate and fortify the “I,” but it is just the feeling of being an isolated “I” which makes me feel lonely and afraid. In other words, the more security I can get, the more I shall want.

To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.

He takes especial issue with the very notion of self-improvement — something particularly prominent in the season of New Year’s resolutions — and admonishes against the implication at its root:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI can only think seriously of trying to live up to an ideal, to improve myself, if I am split in two pieces. There must be a good “I” who is going to improve the bad “me.” “I,” who has the best intentions, will go to work on wayward “me,” and the tussle between the two will very much stress the difference between them. Consequently “I” will feel more separate than ever, and so merely increase the lonely and cut-off feelings which make “me” behave so badly.

Happiness, he argues, isn’t a matter of improving our experience, or even merely confronting it, but remaining present with it in the fullest possible sense:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngTo stand face to face with insecurity is still not to understand it. To understand it, you must not face it but be it. It is like the Persian story of the sage who came to the door of Heaven and knocked. From within the voice of God asked, “Who is there” and the sage answered, “It is I.” “In this House,” replied the voice, “there is no room for thee and me.” So the sage went away, and spent many years pondering over this answer in deep meditation. Returning a second time, the voice asked the same question, and again the sage answered, “It is I.” The door remained closed. After some years he returned for the third time, and, at his knocking, the voice once more demanded, “Who is there?” And the sage cried, “It is thyself!” The door was opened.

We don’t actually realize that there is no security, Watts asserts, until we confront the myth of fixed selfhood and recognize that the solid “I” doesn’t exist — something modern psychology has termed “the self illusion.” And yet that is incredibly hard to do, for in the very act of this realization there is a realizing self. Watts illustrates this paradox beautifully:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngWhile you are watching this present experience, are you aware of someone watching it? Can you find, in addition to the experience itself, an experiencer? Can you, at the same time, read this sentence and think about yourself reading it? You will find that, to think about yourself reading it, you must for a brief second stop reading. The first experience is reading. The second experience is the thought, “I am reading.” Can you find any thinker, who is thinking the thought, I am reading?” In other words, when present experience is the thought, “I am reading,” can you think about yourself thinking this thought?

Once again, you must stop thinking just, “I am reading.” You pass to a third experience, which is the thought, “I am thinking that I am reading.” Do not let the rapidity with which these thoughts can change deceive you into the feeling that you think them all at once.


In each present experience you were only aware of that experience. You were never aware of being aware. You were never able to separate the thinker from the thought, the knower from the known. All you ever found was a new thought, a new experience.

What makes us unable to live with pure awareness, Watts points out, is the ball and chain of our memory and our warped relationship with time:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThe notion of a separate thinker, of an “I” distinct from the experience, comes from memory and from the rapidity with which thought changes. It is like whirling a burning stick to give the illusion of a continuous circle of fire. If you imagine that memory is a direct knowledge of the past rather than a present experience, you get the illusion of knowing the past and the present at the same time. This suggests that there is something in you distinct from both the past and the present experiences. You reason, “I know this present experience, and it is different from that past experience. If I can compare the two, and notice that experience has changed, I must be something constant and apart.”

But, as a matter of fact, you cannot compare this present experience with a past experience. You can only compare it with a memory of the past, which is a part of the present experience. When you see clearly that memory is a form of present experience, it will be obvious that trying to separate yourself from this experience is as impossible as trying to make your teeth bite themselves.


To understand this is to realize that life is entirely momentary, that there is neither permanence nor security, and that there is no “I” which can be protected.

And therein lies the crux of our human struggle:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThe real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the “I” out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two. Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realization that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.

To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening.

The Wisdom of Insecurity is immeasurably wonderful — existentially necessary, even — in its entirety, and one of those books bound to stay with you for a lifetime.



Each month, I spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars keeping Brain Pickings going. For a decade and a half, it has remained free and ad-free and alive thanks to patronage from readers. I have no staff, no interns, not even an assistant — a thoroughly one-woman labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood. If this labor makes your life more livable in any way, please consider aiding its sustenance with a donation. Your support makes all the difference.

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Partial to Bitcoin? You can beam some bit-love my way: 197usDS6AsL9wDKxtGM6xaWjmR5ejgqem7



Alan Watts on Love, the Meaning of Freedom, and the Only Real Antidote to Fear

* * *


Probable Impossibilities: Physicist Alan Lightman on Beginnings, Endings, and What Makes Life Worth Living

* * *


The Mirror of Enigmas: Chance, the Universe, and the Pale Blues of Knowing Who We Are

* * *


The Human Mosaic of Beauty and Madness: Young Alan Watts on Inner Sanity Amid Outer Chaos

* * *


The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story



Vintage Science Face Masks Benefiting the Nature Conservancy (New Designs Added)



The Marshall Goldsmith Newsletter



James Clear Newsletter

3-2-1 Newsletter by James Clear“The most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”

3-2-1: How to get motivated and learn faster, and the power of attention

read onJAMESCLEAR.COM | JUNE 17, 2021

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday,

Here are 3 ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 question to consider this week…

3 Ideas From Me


“Motivation often comes after starting, not before.

Action produces momentum.”

(Share this on Twitter)​


“Almost anything in life can be learned faster.

Most people learn passively. They wait for insights to come to them.

But you can speed things up by actively searching for useful ideas.

One strategy is to ask the top people what they do. Make their best practices your baseline.”


“We spend a lot of time talking about everything we have to do.

You have to finish 10 things at work. You have to exercise today. You have to cook dinner for your family.

Now, change one word in each sentence. You don’t “have” to. You “get” to.

You get to finish 10 things at work. You get to exercise today. You get to cook dinner for your family.

The right perspective transforms your burdens into opportunities.”

2 Quotes From Others


Philosopher José Ortega y Gasset on the power of attention:

“Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.”

Source: Man and Crisis


Marine biologist Rachel Carson shares her reflections on life after watching the migration of monarch butterflies:

“We talked a little about their migration, their life history. Did they return? We thought not; for most, at least, this was the closing journey of their lives.

But it occurred to me this afternoon, remembering, that it had been a happy spectacle, that we had felt no sadness when we spoke of the fact that there would be no return. And rightly—for when any living thing has come to the end of its life cycle we accept that end as natural.

For the Monarch, that cycle is measured in a known span of months. For ourselves, the measure is something else, the span of which we cannot know. But the thought is the same: when that intangible cycle has run its course it is a natural and not unhappy thing that a life comes to an end.”

Source: Letters of Note: Volume 2

1 Question For You

What is the limiting factor?

If you enjoyed that, please share with others.

Share this newsletter on TwitterFacebookLinkedInWhatsApp, or via email.

Or, copy and paste the link below:

Until next week,

James Clear
Author of the multi-million-copy bestseller, Atomic Habits
Creator of the 
Habit Journal

p.s. The guy who invented the clock.

Self Improving Personality – A Moral Duty or category confusion

NHRDN Life Member

This came in the morning and has already made my day.  Thank you NHRDN.

Dear Mr Dhananjay Parkhe,




As a NHRD Member, you get access to the extensive NHRD network, discounts on certification programs, access to thought leadership events & conferences & lots more ! For easy reference, we are sharing your NHRD Membership Number: L/MMB/0199/2003


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Dear Prof. Dhananjay Parkhe,




As a NHRD Member, you get access to the extensive NHRD network, discounts on certification programs, access to thought leadership events & conferences & lots more ! For easy reference, we are sharing your NHRD Membership Number: L/MMB/0199/2003


We wish to honor you today for being our esteemed NHRD member!


We wish to celebrate you and therefore, would like to extend this badge of honor for being our valued member.


Please use #NHRDNMEMBERSHIP to share your badge on social media channels with your experience of NHRD, encouraging other people also to join the NHRD Tribe by clicking We are running a special 20% discount on NHRDN Membership Upgrade and Renewal till 19th June 2021 on all membership types.”




Sustainable Gastronomy Day 18 June

Sustainable Gastronomy Day – 18 June 

This day emphasizes the need to focus the world’s attention on the role that sustainable gastronomy can play. 

Content marketing ideas:     

  • Listicle idea: How you can encourage kids to waste less food  
  • Infographic idea: X Superfoods that are also sustainable 
  • Video idea: Why is organic food so expensive?  
  • Podcast idea: How can you be a restaurateur who cares? 

UFO Disappearance Day

Did you know…

… that today is UFO Disappearance Day? In 1977, Michael Schenker, guitarist with the UFO rock group, disappeared without a trace after a show in Leeds, England. He was finally located about six months later in Germany. His reason for disappearing? He just didn’t know how to say, “I quit.”

Via Below the fold Newsletter

Would you wait for hours to see an endangered flower? Crowds in Warsaw, Poland lined up this weekend to get a glimpse of the Sumatran titan arum, a giant blossom referred to as the “corpse flower” for producing a dead body smell. It grows up to 10 feet tall, making it the largest flowering structure on Earth. Unfortunately, deforestation has endangered its species and the latest bloom is already withering away. A live video was also set up for those who prefer to avoid the smell and busy crowds.DISINFORMATIONThe $1.1 billion in anti-vax profit
Wed Jun 2

The social media disinformation saga continues with an alarming new report revealing that the global anti-vaccination (anti-vax) industry generates $1.1B in annual revenue for social media giants. In return, the anti-vax industry itself earns up to $36M a year. Two-thirds of this content comes from 12 influencers labeled the “disinformation dozen” — including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — reaching an estimated audience of 62 million.

Companies like Facebook are disputing the findings, saying they run the world’s largest online vaccine information campaign (by labeling posts mentioning COVID with accurate resources) and removing misleading content. Other groups seem to be having a different experience:Citizen Browser, a nationwide panel of over 3,100 Facebook users, has continued to discover (and be recommended by Facebook’s algorithm) anti-vax groups and pages explicitly created for the purpose of propagating lies about the pandemic.VAERS, the largest U.S. database for tracking potential vaccine side effects, is actively being used to spread disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines across social media.The proposed solution? Deplatform the major influencers. In fear of a reality where this could happen, some anti-vax influencers have tried encouraging their followers to switch to platforms such as Telegram but have seen limited success. In fact, some of the leading anti-vaccine organizations have even admitted in legal filings that they rely on platforms like Facebook and YouTube to make money and spread their ideals. Others suggest (and have for some time now) that federal regulation is needed to help govern the new digital landscape of information. Some additional resources…→ Full coverage: Codastory
→ Report on anti-vax industry business: Center for Countering Digital Hate
→ Disinformation dozen: CCDH
→ Misuse of federal data (VAERS): NPR
→ Facebook recommending anti-vax groups: The Markup
SAFETYConcerns of stalker tech spreads around devices used to find lost keys
Sun Jun 6

Women are taking to social media to share odd stories of tracking devices appearing in their bags, including one woman’s recent TikTok video that has been viewed nearly a million times. While uncertainty exists around how these trackers got in their bags and why, warnings are being shared to help others avoid potentially dangerous outcomes.

First, let’s understand the trackers. There are two main devices in question: Tiles and AirTags. A Tile is a small, bluetooth tracking device for tracking misplaced keys, wallets, and even pets (if you attach one to their collar). AirTag is Apple’s version, which launched with much anti-competition concern from Tile, fueling ongoing antitrust allegations against Apple.

And concerns over how this technology could be abused are well known.Apple says safeguards such as iPhone alerts have been implemented to prevent stalking attempts, but some worry that victims of domestic violence can be coerced into turning such alerts off by their aggressor.While the devices are said to work only within a set radius, worries are settling in as Tile’s collaboration with Amazon’s Sidewalk could remove those distance limits. Airtags are also proving hackable by one security researcher who reprogrammed theirs.Beyond individual safety, privacy advocates are worried about the growing surveillance power of tech companies from these devices. Every iPhone 11 and above is automatically listening for AirTags and constantly pinging Apple’s servers with the detected location data. And with Tile partnering with Amazon on the newly launched mesh network Sidewalk, Amazon could further grow its surveillance business. For now, anyone concerned can opt-out of Apple location services and Amazon’s Sidewalk.

This story includes first-hand reports the Below the Fold team received from readers who found trackers in their bags while traveling.  Some additional resources… → Woman warns TikTok: Newser
→ AirTags as stalker tech: The Conversation
→ Apple-Tile wars: MacRumors
→ Amazon’s partnership with Tile: EngadgetCLASSIFIEDSAs much as we love reading, scouring through hundreds of articles is exhausting. That’s why the writers behind 1440 take care of doing that for you. Their newsletter provides a single morning briefing with stories on everything from culture to science to sports.

Specifically, 1440:Provides an impartial view of what’s happening in the worldCurates their content from expertsTakes just five minutes to readThat’s likely why 800,000 people are already subscribed. Consider adding 1440 to your inbox for free today.>> Check out 1440ASCII OF THE WEEK __/) .-(__(=: | \) ejm97 (\__ | :=)__)-| __/) (/ |-(__(=: ______ | _ \) / \ | / \ ___\|/___\ [ ]\ \ / \ \ / \___/ Grows 10 feet tall? Produces a dead body smell? What in-carnation!
Art Credit: ASCII Art Archive

via Seth Godin’s Newsletter – Non-machinable surcharge

* Non-machinable surcharge [ ]

I got a marketing letter from a colleague yesterday. Not a sales pitch, just an update on what they were up to.

I was delighted to discover that this mass mailing had a hand-lettered address on it, with little bits of water color for fun. It was slightly irregularly shaped, requiring an extra stamp because it wasn’t machinable. Inside, in addition to a personal (and personalized) note, there was a gift card for an ice cream cone. But the coolest part was that the card wasn’t from a national chain, it was from the local place down the street.

It obviously cost more in time to create than it was going to take me to read. It obviously didn’t go to a lot of people.

And that imbalance is now rare.

People eager to hustle are busy spamming lists of millions of people with an email that takes two minutes to write and poorly mail merge, giving the hustler a 2,000 to 1 advantage in time spent vs. time consumed. It’s a form of leverage that feels like theft to the recipient, because our time, the irreplaceable thing we all are given, was taken.

Of course, I don’t need an ice cream cone, and a small gift card isn’t a bribe. What it represents is care and respect. The opposite of hustle. It was done with sprezzatura, not with a transaction in mind.

None of it works unless you’ve already earned permission. It doesn’t work if it’s part of a clever hustle. It doesn’t work if it’s seen as spam or creates uncomfortable tension or a need for reciprocity. It simply works because it required a surcharge. Instead of using an asset, you can choose to build one.

[And yes, this is exactly the opposite of the way my bank answers the phone, the way most customer service is grudgingly offered, the way many publicists do their job, the way that organizations make foolish choices about attention and trust…] The question shouldn’t be, “does it scale?” Instead, it might be, “is it worth it?”

Interactions with the people who are enrolled and giving you the benefit of the doubt are a form of avocado time. They shouldn’t be optimized for efficiency or even leverage. Instead, it’s a chance to make a difference.

[Thanks Stephen]


Fauna FAH-nəPart of speech: nounOrigin: Latin, 18th century
1The animals of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.
Examples of Fauna in a sentence “The fauna in the Serengeti includes the increasingly rare black rhino.” “A trip to the aquarium is a great way to study the fauna of the sea.”

world day to combat Desertification and Drought 17 th June

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought – 17 June 

This day is celebrated to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. 

Content marketing ideas:     

  • Listicle idea: Everyday hacks that can help conserve groundwater  
  • Infographic idea: X Alternative farming techniques you should know about 
  • Video idea: Here’s how droughts have shaped the history of our world  
  • Podcast idea: This is how wildfires are affecting the soil quality in deserts 

Sustainable Gastronomy Day – 18 June 

Interesting newsletter – Behavioural Economics

Latest Insights
A Safe Space Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about data privacy in their interactions with tools that support financial decision-making. This article summarizes experimental research on the relationship between privacy concerns and consumers’ use of financial support tools.
National Identity and Covid-19 Behaviors In a massive international collaboration, more than 200 researchers recently examined the adoption of public health behaviors and support of public policy interventions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Results reported in this article show that a strong national identity can be linked to greater engagement in public health behaviors and greater support for public health policies.
When Red Means “Go” Color can affect judgment and decision making, and its effects may vary across cultures. New research reported in this article shows that cross-cultural color effects on risk preferences are influenced by personal associations of color-gain/loss. The study finds a cultural reactance effect, a phenomenon in which people who hold culturally incongruent (vs. cultural mainstream) color associations show a stronger risk preference. 
Is It Loyalty or Habit? Marketing theories on loyalty mostly dismiss the idea that consumer’s repeated usage of the brand may be a result of a habit, rather than any emotional commitment to the brand. As a result, loyalty marketing often misses one vital component of generating customer stickiness – trying to convert brand choice into a habit.

Cherry Garcia of Ben and Jerry’s IceCream – Happy Birthday.

Did you know…

… that today is the birthday of Cherry Garcia? In 1987, lawyers for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead finally came to an agreement to allow Ben & Jerry to create a new flavor of ice cream: Cherry Garcia. Yum, yum. Celebrate today by grabbing a bowl of your favorite ice cream!


An alien-made artefact or just interstellar debris? What ʻOumuamua says about how science works when data is scarce


After NepaLeaks sparks anti-corruption reform, ‘weak’ data transparency still a hurdle for reporters

ICIJ partners who exposed major financial crimes are eager to see whether new measures in the country are more than cosmetic changes to gain the international community’s approval.By Scilla Alecci

After NepaLeaks sparks anti-corruption reform, ‘weak’ data transparency still a hurdle for reporters

Magna Carta Day

Did you know…

… that today is Magna Carta Day? On this day in 1215, King John of England signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede. This first charter of English liberties was the basis for American democratic thought. The Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job you can make a living, but if you work hard on yourself you’ll make a fortune.”

— Jim Rohn

The Marhall Goldsmith Newsletter



My mission is simple. I want to help successful people achieve positive, lasting change in behavior; for themselves, their people, and their teams. I want to help you make your life a little better. Thank you for subscribing! Life is good.

My mission is to help successful leaders achieve positive, long-term, measurable change in behavior. The following process is being used by coaches around the world for this same purpose. When these steps are followed, leaders almost always achieve positive, measurable results in changed behavior – not as judged by themselves, but as judged by pre-selected, key co-workers. This process has been used with great success by both external coaches and internal coaches. If the coach will follow these basic steps, clients almost always get better!

1.  Involve the leaders being coached in determining the desired behavior in their leadership roles.Leaders cannot be expected to change behavior if they don’t have a clear understanding of what desired behavior looks like. The people that I coach (in agreement with their managers) work with me to determine desired leadership behavior.

2.  Involve the leaders being coached in determining key stakeholders. Not only do clients need to be clear on desired behaviors, they need to be clear (again in agreement with their managers) on key stakeholders. There are two major reasons why people deny the validity of feedback, wrong items, or wrong raters. Having clients and their managers agree on the desired behaviors and key stakeholders in advance helps ensure their “buy in” to the process.

3.  Collect feedback. In my coaching practice, I personally interview all key stakeholders. The people who I am coaching are all CEOs or potential CEOs, and the company is making a real investment in their development. However, at lower levels in the organization (that are more price sensitive), traditional 360 feedback can work very well. In either case, feedback is critical. It is impossible to get evaluated on changed behavior if there is not agreement on what behavior to change!

4.  Reach agreement on key behaviors for change. As I have become more experienced, my approach has become simpler and more focused. I generally recommend picking only one to two key areas for behavioral change with each client. This helps ensure maximum attention to the most important behavior. My clients and their managers (unless my client is the CEO) agree upon the desired behavior for change. This ensures that I won’t spend a year working with my clients and have their managers determine that we have worked on the wrong thing!

5.  Have the coaching clients respond to key stakeholders. The person being reviewed should talk with each key stakeholder and collect additional “feedforward” suggestions on how to improve the key areas targeted for improvement. In responding, the person being coached should keep the conversation positive, simple, and focused. When mistakes have been made in the past, it is generally a good idea to apologize and ask for help in changing the future. I suggest that my clients listen to stakeholder suggestions and not judge the suggestions.

6.  Review what has been learned with clients and help them develop an action plan. As was stated earlier, my clients have to agree to the basic steps in our process. On the other hand, outside of the basic steps, all of the other ideas that I share with my clients are suggestions. I just ask them to listen to my ideas in the same way they are listening to the ideas from their key stakeholders. I then ask them to come back with a plan of what they want to do. These plans need to come from them, not me. After reviewing their plans, I almost always encourage them to live up to their own commitments. I am much more of a facilitator than a judge. I usually just help my clients do what they know is the right thing to do.

7.  Develop an ongoing follow-up process. Ongoing follow-up should be very efficient and focused. Questions like, “Based upon my behavior last month, what ideas do you have for me for next month?” can keep a focus on the future. Within six months conduct a two- to six-item mini-survey with key stakeholders. They should be asked whether the person has become more or less effective in the areas targeted for improvement.

8.  Review results and start again. If the person being coached has taken the process seriously, stakeholders almost invariably report improvement. Build on that success by repeating the process for the next 12 to 18 months. This type of follow-up will assure continued progress on initial goals and uncover additional areas for improvement. Stakeholders will appreciate the follow-up. No one minds filling out a focused, two- to six-item questionnaire if they see positive results. The person being coached will benefit from ongoing, targeted steps to improve performance.

While behavioral coaching is only one branch in the coaching field, it is the most widely used type of coaching. Most requests for coaching involve behavioral change. While this process can be very meaningful and valuable for top executives, it can be even more useful for high-potential future leaders. These are the people who have great careers in front of them. Increasing effectiveness in leading people can have an even greater impact if it is a 20-year process, instead of a one-year program.

People often ask, “Can executives really change their behavior?” The answer is definitely yes. At the top of major organizations even a small positive change in behavior can have a big impact. From an organizational perspective, the fact that the executive is trying to change anything (and is being a role model for personal development) may be even more important than what the executive is trying to change. One key message that I have given every CEO that I coach is “To help others develop – start with yourself!”

Life is good. Marshall.

International Day of FAmily Remittances 16 June

International Day of Family Remittances – 16 June 

This day is celebrated to recognize the contribution of over 200 million migrant workers who work tirelessly to improve the lives of their family. 

Content marketing ideas:     

  • Listicle idea: X Steps to prevent another migrant crisis during a pandemic  
  • Infographic idea: How to make the lives of female migrant workers safer  
  • Video idea: Here’s how ILO ensures the welfare of migrant workers  
  • Podcast idea: Can digitization provide better jobs to migrant workers? 

Brand campaign that worked: 

This ad by PhonePe shows the sweet exchange between a housewife and her migrant husband who has sent her a gift for her birthday. 

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought – 17 June 


Parlance PAR-lənsPart of speech: nounOrigin: Latin, 16th century
1A particular way of speaking or using words, especially a way common to those with a particular job or interest
Examples of Parlance in a sentence “Sarah wasn’t used to the parlance in the medical journal.” “The parlance of the mental health field is becoming easier for the general public to understand.”

Mark Twain’s wit

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
— Mark Twain

Mark Twain is often regarded as the greatest humorist in American literature. He used his well-honed wit to satirize a range of subjects, including religious hypocrisy, corrupt politicians, and imperialism. Sometimes he just enjoyed a bit of wordplay to make people laugh, such as when he wrote, “Familiarity breeds contempt — and children.”

12 Phrases Shakespeare Coined That We Still Use TodayMarch 2, 2021

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William Shakespeare’s influence on theater, literature and the English language is hard to overstate. He wrote some 39 plays and 154 sonnets, and is widely considered the greatest writer in the English language. A scribe of comedies, histories, tragedies and romances, he covered an enormous amount of territory, examining the human condition while creating iconic characters such as Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo, and Juliet.

Shakespeare wrote his plays for everyone to enjoy, and his crowds contained people from all walks of life. In the Globe Theatre, built by Shakespeare’s theater company in 1599, poorer people—known as the groundlings—would stand in the central area, exposed to the elements. In the galleries, meanwhile, sat the nobility and other wealthy citizens, protected from the weather and the boisterous crowd below. Shakespeare’s ability to attract a mixed audience was part of his success, and also one of the reasons why his words and phrases permeated throughout society.

By the time of his death in 1616, at the age of 52, many of his phrases and idioms had gained a foothold in common parlance. So much so, that we still use some of them today — often without realizing they were coined by the Bard of Avon. If you’re trying to “break the ice” at a party, you’re quoting Shakespeare. If you’re “in a pickle,” that too came from the Bard…

Love is blind
– “The Merchant of Venice,” “Henry V,” and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”

Shakespeare used this phrase in three of his plays, in reference to the way love can make us overlook the flaws in those we love (for good and for bad). In The Merchant of Venice, Jessica says “But love is blind and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that themselves commit.” It remains a common phrase today.

In a pickle
– “The Tempest”

When King Alonso asks his jester, Trinculo, “How camest thou in this pickle?,” the jester replies “I have been in such a pickle since I saw you last.” Pickle here has a double meaning: Trinculo is both in trouble (the current usage of “in a pickle”) and drunk (he is pickled).

Green-eyed monster
– “Othello”

When the evil Iago sows the seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind regarding his wife’s faithfulness, he tells him, “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” We still use “green-eyed monster” in reference to jealousy in all its forms.

– “King John”

When Constance expresses her anger towards her supposed allies, she rails against them with “Thou cold-blooded slave, hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side?” Shakespeare used “cold-blooded” before it was used in a biological sense (for reptiles and fish), to express an unfeeling, callous, or deliberately cruel action. Today it is often used to refer to “cold-blooded killers.”

Salad days
– “Antony and Cleopatra”

Cleopatra refers to her prior relationship with Julius Caesar as occurring during “My salad days, when I was green in judgment.” Salad days refers to a time of carefree innocence and youthful inexperience (the salad being green, as in immature). We use the expression in a similar way today, although it can also refer to a heyday or “the golden years.”

Break the ice
– “The Taming of the Shrew”

When Tranio speaks with Petruchio about how to woo the hard-hearted Katherine, he tells him to “…break the ice, and do this feat, achieve the elder, set the younger free.” Break the ice, in this sense, is a metaphor for the cold Katherine. Today it has a more general use, meaning to relieve tension or get the conversation going at a party or other social gathering, or when people meet for the first time.

As dead as a doornail
– “Henry VI, Part II”

This expression has been in use since at least the 14th century and was common in Shakespeare’s time. But its survival to this day probably has a lot to do with its appearance in Shakespeare’s play, when the rebel leader Jack Cade says, “…come thou and thy five men, and if I do not leave you all as dead as a doornail, I pray God I may never eat grass more.”

Cruel to be kind
– “Hamlet”

Having killed Polonius earlier in the scene, and while berating his mother Gertrude, Hamlet says, “I will bestow him, and will answer well, The death I gave him. So again good night. I must be cruel only to be kind.” He is telling Gertrude that he must be cruel to her for her own good—the same way in which we use the expression today.

Foregone conclusion
– “Othello”

After Othello has a dream in which his lover Desdemona was unfaithful to him, he was convinced that it was true: “But this denoted a foregone conclusion.” Thanks to The Bard, the phrase has stuck around since 1604.

Knock, knock! Who’s there?
– “Macbeth”

It’s possible that the now ubiquitous “knock, knock” jokes began with Shakespeare. The porter in Macbeth, while pretending he’s the gatekeeper in hell, uses the phrase a number of times, such as, “Knock, knock! Who’s there, in th’ other devil’s name?”

One fell swoop
– “Macbeth”

When Macduff hears that his family and servants have all been killed, he laments: “What, all my pretty chickens and their dam at one fell swoop?” While most people know what “one fell swoop” means (suddenly, or in a single, quick action), not many people know where the “fell” comes from. The “fell” used by Shakespeare is an old word that we no longer use, apart from in this phrase, meaning evil or cruel.

The world is your oyster
– “The Merry Wives of Windsor”

This phrase has changed slightly over the centuries. It originally appeared in a line by the character Pistol: “Why then the world’s mine oyster, which I with sword will open.” In the context of the play, it had a violent connotation, as Pistol wanted to forcibly open the metaphorical oyster to obtain money. Now we use it in a far more positive way, to convey that all is possible and anything can be achieved.

Photo Credit: FierceAbin/ iStock

10 entrepreneurs quotes on Failures.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
 Thomas Edison

Even if you fail at your ambitious thing, it’s very hard to fail completely.
 Larry Page

Failure and invention are inseparable twins.
 Jeff Bezos

I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.
 Michael Jordan

With engineering, I view this year’s failure as next year’s opportunity to try it again. Failures are not something to be avoided. You want to have them happen as quickly as you can so you can make progress rapidly.
 Intel co-founder Gordon Moore

Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.
 Motivational speaker and business coach Zig Ziglar

In my experience, each failure contains the seeds of your next success — if you are willing to learn from it.
 Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen

There’s no such thing as failure. There are only results.
 Motivational speaker and business coach Tony Robbins

In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.
 Mark Zuckerberg

If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.
 Elon Musk

Happy Birthday to Blue

Did you know…

… that today is the birthday of Blue? The birthday of Blue, the famous dog featured in “Blue’s Clues,” was declared as June 14. Blue’s Clues premiered on September 8, 1996. Within 18 months of its premiere, virtually 100% of preschoolers’ parents knew about Blue’s Clues. It became the highest-rated show for preschoolers on commercial television by 2002; 13.7 million viewers tuned in each week.



GamesomeGEYM-səmPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: Middle English, 14th century
1Playful and merry
Examples of Gamesome in a sentence “The toddler was gamesome as he ran happily through the field.” “Stacy had a bubbly, gamesome personality that made her welcoming to all newcomers.”

World Elder Abuse Day – 15 June

World Elder Abuse Day – 15 June 

Elder Abuse

This day is commemorated to raise awareness about the abuse and suffering inflicted on our older generations. 

Content marketing ideas:     

  • Listicle idea: X Caregiving tips if you have elders at home  
  • Infographic idea: X Helpline numbers to call if you suspect elder abuse 
  • Video idea: Why does elder abuse happen? 
  • Podcast idea: What should you ensure before putting a parent in a care facility? 

Five Useful Questions – by Seth Godin

Five useful questions [ ]

They might be difficult to answer, but your project will benefit:

What’s the hard part? Which part of your work, if it suddenly got much better, would have the biggest impact on the outcome you seek?

How are you spending your time? If we took at look at your calendar, how much time is spent reacting or responding to incoming, how much is under your control, and how much is focused on the hard part?

What do you need to know? What are the skills that you don’t have that would make your work more effective?

What is the scary part? Which outcomes or interactions are you trying to avoid thinking about or interacting with? Why?

Is it worth it? After looking at your four answers to these questions, you might have a better idea of what it will take for your project to reach its potential. Does the outcome of the project–for those you serve and for you–justify what it will take to get it there?

World Blood Donor Day

World Blood Donor Day – 14 June 

This day is celebrated to thank unpaid, voluntary blood donors for their life-saving gift. 

Content marketing ideas:     

  • Listicle idea: X Things you should know about donating plasma during the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Infographic idea: Extraordinary benefits of blood donation that will surprise you  
  • Video idea: A step-by-step guide for organizing a blood donation drive  
  • Podcast idea: Why is it so hard to get blood even though so many people donate? 

Brand campaign that worked: 

This ad by the American Red Cross encourages people to donate blood and emphasizes that when you do so, you not only donate blood, but also time for patients to recover and spend with their loved ones. 


Sunday Brain Food: a weekly newsletter full of timeless ideas and insights for life and business.


Knowing about a cognitive bias isn’t usually enough to overcome it. Even people like Daniel Kahneman who have studied behavioral economics for many years sometimes struggle with the same irrational patterns. But being aware of the availability heuristic is helpful for the times when you need to make an important decision and can step back to make sure it isn’t distorting your view. Here are five ways of mitigating the availability heuristic.

— Overcoming a Common Cognitive Distortion

Explore Your Curiosity

★ “The biggest fear most of us have with learning to say NO is that we will miss an opportunity. An opportunity that would have catapulted us to success, or that will never come again. And most of the time*, that simply isn’t true. I’ve found that the first part of learning to say NO is learning to accept that offers and opportunities are merely an indication that you’re on the right path- not that you’ve arrived at a final destination you can never find again.’”

— Grace Bonney on saying no

★ “The big mistake in this pattern of failure is projecting your subjective lack of comprehension onto the object you are looking at, as “irrationality.” We make this mistake because we are tempted by a desire for legibility.”

— A Big Little Idea Called Legibility

Timeless Insight

“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.”

— Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet

Tiny Thought

Waiting for the right time is seductive. Our mind tricks us into thinking that waiting is actually doing something.

It’s easy to land in a state where you’re always waiting … for the right moment, for things to be perfect, for everything to feel just right. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not ready and if you wait just a little longer than things will be easier.

Waiting rarely makes things easier. Most of the time, waiting makes things harder.

The right time is now.

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Stay safe,


PiedpihydPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: Latin and Middle English, 14th century
1Having two or more different colors
Examples of Pied in a sentence “The horse had a pied coat even though his mother’s coat was a solid brown.” “The pied scarf contained all the colors of the rainbow.”

Perfect is a trap. By Seth Godin

False equivalencies [ ]

It’s a pointless form of argument.

“This scientist made a careless error in their paper, therefore we need to excuse a con artist who falsified an entire career.”

Or, “that restaurant served fish that got someone sick, therefore, there’s no reason for there to be a health inspection at my restaurant or any other one for that matter.”

Or, “there was a typo in this book from a major publisher, so I’m not going to bother with an editor at all.”

The open-minded respond by trying to defend the original error or the intent behind it. But that simply amplifies the false equivalency argument and leads to a no-standards race to the bottom.

The false equivalency itself is the problem, not the unexpected error.

Perfect is a trap.

Ideas: Random Acts of Kindness

  1. Give coffee to people on their way to work in the morning
  2. Ask a teenager for their opinion… and then really listen to them
  3. Give the gift of your smile along with a small piece of paper with a smiley face and a note that says “pass it on”
  4. Be generous with compliments
  5. Organize a carpool

Five INteresting phrases

  1. Back To the Drawing Board Meaning: Starting over again on a new design from a previously failed attempt.
  2. Give a Man a Fish Meaning: It’s better to teach a person how to do something than to do that something for them.
  3. Dropping Like Flies Meaning: To fall down ill or to die in large numbers.
  4. Like Father Like Son Meaning: Resembling one’s parents in terms of appearance or behavior.
  5. Lovey Dovey Meaning: The affectionate stuff that people do when they are in love, such as kissing and hugging.

BRAINPICKINGS.ORG newsletter I like

This is the weekly email digest of the daily online journal Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. If you missed last week’s edition — music, matter, and the mind; how to get over rejection; the chemistry and culture of how we see color — you can catch up right here. If my labor of love enriches your life in any way, please consider supporting it with a donation – for a decade and a half, I have spent tens of thousands of hours, made many personal sacrifices, and invested tremendous resources in Brain Pickings, which remains free and ad-free and alive thanks to reader patronage. If you already donate: THANK YOU.

The Ocean and the Meaning of Life

This essay is adapted from Figuring.

In June of 1952, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service received a letter of resignation from its most famous marine biologist. On the line requesting the reason for resignation, she had stated plainly: “To devote my time to writing.” But she was also leaving for the freedom to use her public voice as an instrument of change, awakening the world’s ecological conscience with her bold open letters holding the government accountable for its exploitation of nature.

Fifteen years earlier, at age twenty-nine, Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907–April 14, 1964) had gotten her start at the lowest rungs of the government agency as a field aide hired at $6.50 an hour. Wading through tide pools and annual marine census reports as a junior aquatic biologist, she had found her voice as a writer with an uncommon gift for walking the teeming shoreline between the scientific and the poetic. In an unexampled essay that eventually bloomed into The Sea Around Us, which won her the National Book Award, she had invited the human imagination undersea, into a world then more mysterious than the Moon. Now, forty-five and finally free from the day-job by which she had been supporting her mother, her sister, and the young nephew she adopted and raised as her son after her sister’s death, Carson set out to fulfill her childhood dream of living by the ocean.rachelcarson_undersea.jpg?resize=680%2C398

Rachel Carson

After searching along the New England coast, she fell in love with West Southport — a picturesque island in Maine, nestled among evergreens and oaks in the estuary of the Sheepscot River, where seals frequented the beach and whales billowed by as though torn from the pages of her beloved Melville. With her book royalties, she bought a plot of land on which to build a cottage. In a touching testament to her orientation to the natural world, she felt deeply uncomfortable thinking of herself as its “owner” — a “strange and inappropriate word” — of this “perfectly magnificent piece of Maine shoreline.” There, she would soon meet her soul mate, whose love would bolster Carson’s moral courage in catalyzing the environmental movement; there, she would compose her next book, dedicating it to her beloved Dorothy for having gone down with her “into the low-tide world” and “felt its beauty and its mystery.”

The Edge of the Sea was an ambitious guide to the seashore — the place where Carson found “a sense of the unhurried deliberation of earth processes that move with infinite leisure, with all eternity at their disposal”; the strange and wondrous boundary the ocean-loving Whitman had once extolled as “that suggesting, dividing line, contact, junction… blending the real and ideal, and each made portion of the other.”

The book was also an admonition against what we stand to lose — writing in the early 1950s, Carson noted the systematically documented and “well recognized” fact of global climate change. But was primarily a celebration, for that is always the most effective instrument of admonition — a celebration of what we have and what we are, an ode to “how that marvelous, tough, vital, and adaptable something we know as LIFE has come to occupy one part of the sea world and how it has adjusted itself and survived despite the immense, blind forces acting upon it from every side.”hasuikawase1.jpg?resize=680%2C1014

Spring Moon at Ninomiya Beach, 1931 — one of Hasui Kawase’s stunning vintage Japanese woodblocks. (Available as a print.)

Inevitably, in telling the story of life, the book takes on an existential undertone, rendered symphonic under Carson’s poetic pen. Watching the fog engulf the rocks beneath her study window as the night tide rolls in, she considers the totality of being, which the world’s oceans contour and connect:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngHearing the rising tide, I think how it is pressing also against other shores I know — rising on a southern beach where there is no fog, but a moon edging all the waves with silver and touching the wet sands with lambent sheen, and on a still more distant shore sending its streaming currents against the moonlit pinnacles and the dark caves of the coral rock.

Then in my thoughts these shores, so different in their nature and in the inhabitants they support, are made one by the unifying touch of the sea. For the differences I sense in this particular instant of time that is mine are but the differences of a moment, determined by our place in the stream of time and in the long rhythms of the sea. Once this rocky coast beneath me was a plain of sand; then the sea rose and found a new shore line. And again in some shadowy future the surf will have ground these rocks to sand and will have returned the coast to its earlier state. And so in my mind’s eye these coastal forms merge and blend in a shifting, kaleidoscopic pattern in which there is no finality, no ultimate and fixed reality — earth becoming fluid as the sea itself.


The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Japanese artist Hokusai, 1831. (Available as a print and as a face mask, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)

The year of Carson’s death, as Dorothy scattered her ashes into the rocking bay, James Baldwin would echo these existential undertones in his poetic insistence that “nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever… the sea does not cease to grind down rock.” Carson — still alive, still islanded for a mortal moment in the ocean of ongoingness — adds:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngOn all these shores there are echoes of past and future: of the flow of time, obliterating yet containing all that has gone before; of the sea’s eternal rhythms — the tides, the beat of surf, the pressing rivers of the currents — shaping, changing, dominating; of the stream of life, flowing as inexorably as any ocean current, from past to unknown future.


Contemplating the teeming life of the shore, we have an uneasy sense of the communication of some universal truth that lies just beyond our grasp. What is the message signaled by the hordes of diatoms, flashing their microscopic lights in the night sea? What truth is expressed by the legions of the barnacles, whitening the rocks with their habitations, each small creature within finding the necessities of its existence in the sweep of the surf? And what is the meaning of so tiny a being as the transparent wisp of protoplasm that is a sea lace, existing for some reason inscrutable to us — a reason that demands its presence by the trillion amid the rocks and weeds of the shore? The meaning haunts and ever eludes us, and in its very pursuit we approach the ultimate mystery of Life itself.


Art from Geographical Portfolio — Comprising Physical, Political, Geological, and Astronomical Geography by Levi Walter Yaggy, 1887. (Available as a print, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)

As The Edge of the Sea alighted in the world, critical praise and honors came cascading, trailed by invitations for lectures and acceptance speeches. Always uncomfortable with attention and public appearances, Carson became even more selective, prioritizing women’s associations and nonprofit cultural institutions over glamorous commercial stages. When she did speak, her words became almost a consecration, as in a speech she delivered before a convocation of librarians:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngWhen we go down to the lowest of the low tide lines and look down into the shallow waters, there’s all the excitement of discovering a new world. Once you have entered such a world, its fascination grows and somehow you find your mind has gained a new dimension, a new perspective — and always thereafter you find yourself remember[ing] the beauty and strangeness and wonder of that world — a world that is as real, as much a part of the universe, as our own.


Rachel Carson, 1951

Savor more of Carson’s lyrical reverence for the sea and the strange wonder of life in