Burying my head in the sand

on how I have to learn to deal with all problems

Hello my friends and welcome back to my ProtoNewsletter, the place where I share not only ideas, ravings, insights, and tips of dubious usefulness, but also grammatical mistakes and odd phrasing.

Thinking about what to include in this episode, it came to my mind a note I made a few weeks ago about the inefficiency I show in managing some of my problems.

I dug through the mess of my notes and found it. Title: Rationally analyzing my problems. The interesting thing is that, in addition to this note, another one showed up. Title: I always avoid problems, date: November 22, 2020.

Had I been a being able to feel emotions, it would have been appropriate to be moved by the poetic coherence of this apparition.

The fact that for more than 4 months I have not acted to change the situation is a manifestation of the phenomenon itself.

There are various (meta-)levels in this inception of problems:

  1. Problems
  2. The problem of ineffective management of problems
  3. The problem of doing nothing to solve the problem of ineffective management of problems

I don’t know if I’m explaining myself, because even I am almost not understanding anything anymore. Perhaps it is better to give a concrete example.

About a year ago, what I later discovered to be a small fibroma appeared inside my lip. A little ball causing no real issues, if not for the more or less continuous annoyance.

Well, do you know when I went to have it checked? End of August. And remove? In mid-November. That is about 7 months after the start of the thing. And not even because I made up my mind spontaneously, but only because my sister noticed it while I was having lunch with my parents, who strongly advised me to go to the dentist.

In this story, the fibroma is the concrete problem, while the meta-problem is my handling of the matter.

This is just one of several occasions when, imitating ostriches, I bury my head in the sand. Except that, despite the saying, they do it to take care of the eggs and not as an attempt to ignore problems.

Maybe it’s a manifestation of some ugh field, maybe it’s a form of procrastination, maybe it’s an instinctive hope that things will work themselves out. It does not happen for all problems. I think it is related to how postponable they appear to be.

But regardless of what it is and what problems it concerns, the conclusion is the same: I have to change how I behave. For real. From this point of view, it is useful to talk about it in a public place like my newsletter. It puts some accountability pressure on me.

The plan is to create some kind of problem analysis framework. A kind of strategy that tells me what to do. Something like:

  1. describe the problem
  2. how long has it existed?
  3. what is it due to?
  4. are you sure that’s the reason?
  5. what if it was something else? how can you be sure?
  6. what can you do to fix it?

This is roughly what I jotted down in the note above, Rationally Analyzing My Problems. It is yet to be finished, but this time I promise to do it. ๐Ÿคž I’ll put in place a system to keep myself on track and then I try to publish an article about it or something like that.

Who knows how many share my proverbial-ostrich-like behavior. I’m not the only one, right?

Suggestions are accepted from anyone who has done something like this. tyvm

The serendipity of the internet

A few days ago I noticed an anomalous increase in subscribers to my Italian newsletter. I took my detective lens and did some investigation. I discovered that this Andrea Ciraolo guy had shared one of my articles in his newsletter. (Italian links alert ๐Ÿšจ)

The name wasn’t new to me, but it took me a few moments to connect the dots. I realized it was the same guy hosting a podcast I used to listen to: Passione Podcast. I still remember when he was wondering if it was better to read a script or improvise.

It was 2018. It seems a lifetime ago.

This event made me stop for a moment to appreciate, once again, the digital magic that we now take for granted. It’s no secret that the internet is, among other things, a serendipity machine. It’s almost a mantra online. But it’s one thing to be aware of it, it’s another to see it happen firsthand.

To me, it is incredible that individuals far apart who have never spoken to each other cross over time, in a completely random way, simply because they share something on the net.

Content I’ve consumed

On the reading side of things, I’m taking a break from non-fiction, the first since I finished reading The Witcher at the end of last December. I’m at 80% of The Priorate of the Orange Tree which has a few flaws here and there, but it still grows to be very engaging.

On the podcast side, I recommend this beautiful episode of Not Overthinking in which they talk about a supernerd topic and which most people feel aversion to: optimization of relationships. They also discuss the importance of making one’s values โ€‹โ€‹explicit, learning to like what you do, and other stuff.

Also, I’m staying away from social media and this gave me a lot of free time that I was able to redirect to more intentional entertainment. So I finally catch up with the fourth season of Rick and Morty (too bad they were only 10 episodes) and the anime Welcome to the NHK.

Finally, I enjoyed this scientific summary of what we know about memory reconsolidation, which is the fact that our memories are not immutable despite what we might think.

Content I’ve made

๐Ÿ— I just opened my English website, so I’m in the process of translating all of my content from the Italian website (thanks Google Translate for doing a big chunk of the work). At the moment you can only find the article where I talk about the Zettelkasten method for taking effective notes, but there’s more to come.

Taking effective notes: the Zettelkasten method