Giving thanks

“Ask yourself if you are happy, and you cease to be so.” -John Stuart Mill

“We are never happy; we can only remember that we were once.” -Alexander Smith

Gretchen Rubin says she rejects both of these.

I think there’s some truth in both of them, insofar as they can be true. You can reflect on your situation and immediately become dissatisfied where you weren’t before. You can reflect on what’s happening now and feel like you don’t have enough.

I think many people go through life this way.

But I don’t think it must be this way. And I don’t think it should be this way.

I think you and I can reflect on what’s happening now and feel completely satisfied, fully fulfilled, intensely grateful.

I think it’s a choice.

know it’s a choice.

Choice is what it means to give thanks.


No alarm clock [EXPERIMENT]

Do most people hate their alarm clock?

Do most people in the United States wake up to an alarm clock?

Do most people who wake up to an alarm clock use one more than 50% of their mornings?

If yes, then most people in the United States are hating away the first moments of their day, more than 50% of the time.

I know I didn’t like my alarm clock going off. Even if I felt great after getting up, those first moments are brutal.

A few weeks back, a friend mentioned that he doesn’t wake up with an alarm clock. At the time, I’d just started experimenting with waking up early every day, even on weekends. I thought trying to ditch the alarm clock would be a good idea too.

The first night of course is a little scary. Instead of dropping it cold turkey, I used one morning to see if I could wake up before my alarm clock. I could, and I knew I could, since I usually wake up before my alarm. But it’s different when the pressure is on.

So I gave it one morning. And I was fine.

The evening after, I turned off my alarm clock. I put my cell phone, which is what I use for an alarm clock, away in my bag. And I was fine. I wake up way in time.

I’ve been going without it for a few weeks now. The Daylight Savings Time change helped. I might be getting up later now.

What I’ve found, though, is that knowing I have to get up on my own the next morning, I do a better job of going to sleep on time anyway. Again, waking up early every day of the week also helps – it keeps that rhythm going.

Make it difficult to fail (Or, How to make it easier to succeed)

For me, the biggest takeaway from this interview about training dogs is that you have to set dogs up for success. Limit the options it has so the only options available are good options. Then reward choices made for these good options. Only then, slowly add more options, continue rewarding good choices, and go from there.

This is such a key principle. And not just for dogs, life in general.

If you set someone up to test them, they’re bound to fail. Even if you tell them you’re going to test them, the odds are that they’ll still fail (though the chance goes down if you tell them vs. not telling them at all).

If instead you present one option, one way of doing it, and then consistently reward that person when they do it that way, the odds flip completely. Then it’s hard to fail.

Making it easier to succeed is really about making it difficult to fail. If it’s hard to fail, success is the only option.

And the way to make it difficult to fail is to literally make it difficult to fail: limit options to good choices, and then reward good choices.

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