… when there is a clear goal and when the problem can be solved by brute force, performance-based goals — especially those incentivized by a reward — work extremely well. It’s when the problems require some ingenuity or some mental effort, that performance-based goals and rewards start to backfire and reduce performance.
In the streets of Cologne.
“It’s an unfortunate fact that media reporting on individual crimes yields a relentlessly dismal drumbeat of downbeat news,” Wolfers writes. And what’s true of violent crime is true of other measurements. Humanity has never been more educated, healthy, rich, technologically advanced, and peaceful.
Eye-opening data, you really need this.
Today was a really good day. So good, to the point I thought, so this is what happiness tastes like. Even though the day started with severe headache.
Today I just had a lot of musical ideas about my current song. It came as a great relief. I thought I was hopeless. Now, I clearly see that I’m not an inherently shitty composer. I just have good day and bad days.
I need to find ways for my creativity to surface, nurture it, grow, calibrate, refine. And today I’ve seen what it can eventually become.
Playing music is a lot like sex. When you don’t do it for long time, the tension starts building up. Then you’re going, and breathing heavily, and radiating warmth, and just willing to freeze it forever. Then it violently culminates and the next moment you are relaxed. You want to enjoy every single moment of it. You just start enjoying life, being as happy and laid back as it gets. You are ready for anything that comes next because life is good.
This moment you realize that you don’t need anything to be happy, because you already are. Just release that strain you’ve stupidly engineered in yourself. Get more good days.
When flowers awaken
My old acoustic song that I bothered to record for some reason.
Microsoft could learn much from Sun Tzu. Over the past fifteen to twenty years, Microsoft has engaged in the very worst kind of generalship. Microsoft has allowed their competitors to join forces and successfully scheme against them. Microsoft has responded to the successes of their competitors by forswearing their strongest weapons, abandoning their strongest defensive positions and rushing to attack their competitors wherever they may be, even if those battlefields were located where Microsoft was at its weakest and their competitors were are at their strongest. When these attacks inevitably failed, Microsoft resorted to wars of attrition. Yet in these wars of attrition, it was Microsoft, not their opponents, who suffered most, taking disproportionally greater losses than they inflicted.
If you are employed by Microsoft (a few of my friends are) you have to be conscious about the true reason:
- If it’s a “lifestyle employment” (e.g. you get paid handsomely) and you work in a vital unit, don’t bother. For example, the Windows and Office elephants can bleed forever as long as PC lives;
- If you are in a secondary project unit and/or on contract, have your plans B and C and D ready;
- If you want to make a difference, why are you in a corporation at all?
My biggest complaint about my car is the name. I don’t like “Model S”. It’s too stark. So I’ve taken to giving my car a variety of nicknames, such as “Intergalactic SpaceBoat of Light and Wonder” or “Electric CruiseBeast”. Sometimes I just call it “I’M IN OUTER SPACE, MOTHERFUCKER,” because that’s my favorite thing to scream at other drivers whilst passing them on the freeway.
Yes, Matthew knows how to tell people some basic truths.
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
— Carl Sagan, “Pale Blue Dot,” 1994
This image of Earth, captured by NASA’s Voyager 1 at a distance of more than 4 billion miles, inspired Carl’s famous quote.