Existential Friday Newsletter

v36: Yes, Someone Came Up With A Formula For Success

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On my way to work I drive past a path where runners and bikers get out for morning exercise.  The path is way more crowded this week than it was a few weeks ago.  My theory is that runners with newly renewed resolutions are out in full force.

Rolling into a new year creates a separation in our thinking.  It’s easy to compartmentalize the past year and think, yes, this year will be better.  In order to make it better, we need awareness around where we’re going.  Combining awareness with regularly renewed clarity drives success.

People tend to pick up new habits in the new year because they take the time to revisit what they want, but revisiting goals shouldn’t be an annual event.  We can also write down what we want and glance at it every day. A daily refresh might do more to drive us in our desired direction than an annual resolution.  The way we look at the world changes when revisiting goals becomes a habit.  It keeps our bigger desires at hand and makes it easier to stay focused on what we want.

At the same time, how do you know if you’ll be successful in what you’re working towards?  Obviously it’s easier to find success in processes or habits than in outcomes.  But what if what you really want is an outcome?  How long should you work towards it and do you even have the potential to reach it?  We like to tell kids that they can be anything they want, but that’s just not true.

Over the holiday weekend I did some goal setting and read about factors that drive success.  The article below is an interview with Albert-László Barabási.  He says that success is a function of how valuable our idea is and our aptitude.

The idea is pretty simple.  In order to achieve a high level of success you must do something that’s extremely valuable and be capable of achieving it.  You won’t reach a high level of success if you don’t have the ability or aptitude to execute well.  Click here to read the full interview on what you can learn from people who succeed later in life.



Whoa, these birds dance like people. Is there something about certain music that makes animals (and humans) move similarly?  That’s really interesting to think about.


So this video about Minimalist Modern Art is great. Especially the angry people in it . . .


This Dan is my climate opposite. The video is horrifying, just horrifying.

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