Greg shares some things. Monthly.
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First Thoughts

When Amanda and I went to the gym a couple of nights ago, we made the mistake of arriving around 7pm. It was PACKED. Every single treadmill, almost every elliptical, and a majority of the weight machines were occupied.

But now it's February. Like magic, over the next few weeks, gym crowds will thin out. Folks will drop from 3 days/week to 2 to 1 and eventually they'll forget they're still paying for the gym membership. In January, it's easy to stay motivated. But when February hits, New Year's resolutions and "New Year, New You" is getting tired. It takes a little something extra to keep showing up. 

Of course, 'gym' can be replaced with just about anything. My Facebook news feed seems to be one of two topics:

I will admit and recognize my own proclivities to jump into the fray. I want to share what I'm reading and what I think about a given situation. (That I just wrote that statement in this newsletter is ironic enough.) I want to create a tribe of folks who think like I do or are at least willing to engage in thoughtful dialogue about what I think. But I have to recognize that this doesn't change anything. It does, however, create burnout. The reason we burnout is some alchemy of lack of traction towards our goals, wrongly-defined goals to start with, or repeated incongruence between input (what we see, want, desire) and output (the actions we take to move us towards what we see, want, desire). Simpler: we thought going to the gym was going to get us to some goal and then we could stop going, without recognizing that going to the gym needed to be an end itself. 

We stop showing up because we're tired. We stop showing up because we fail to see that we've set the wrong goal for ourselves. We stop showing up because it's easier to give in and go about the normal rhythms of our lives. But change only happens when we show up. Every. Single. Day.

Reader's Digest

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

Nancy Isenburg

Starting before the first settlers sailed across the Atlantic, this eye-opening history chronicles how class has shaped so much of our country. From Georgia's radical charter to Jacksonian Democracy to eugenics to the 'welfare wars' of just a few years ago, Isenburg has done a marvelous job pulling the thread that connects race, class, politics, and social mobility. Don't miss this one.


Key Quotes

"For much of American history, the worst classes were seen as extrusions of the worst land: scrubby, barren, and swampy wasteland. Home ownership remains today the measure of social mobility."

"At all times, white trash remind us of one of the American nation’s uncomfortable truths: the poor are always with us. A preoccupation with penalizing poor whites reveals an uneasy tension between what Americans are taught to think the country promises—the dream of upward mobility—and the less appealing truth that class barriers almost invariably make that dream unobtainable. Of course, the intersection of race and class remains an undeniable part of the overall story."

Around the Web

No, You're Not Entitled to Your Opinion

Patrick Stokes

We've created a culture that is incapable of being wrong. Let me rephrase. We've created a culture that can only see how others are wrong, assuming that if we believe it, then it must be true. Professor Stokes offers a way for us to think differently about the nature of truth and our willingness to challenge others on the facts. Because showing up with truth is wearisome, but necessary. 


Key Quote

"The problem is that sometimes we implicitly seem to take (professional) opinions... to be unarguable in the way questions of taste are. "

TED Talk: Are You a Giver or Taker?

Adam Grant

Speaking of burnout, Adam Grant has a great new TED talk about a topic I've touched on in the past: Giving vs Taking and how each of us tends towards one or the other.

Just for fun:

BS Detector. It's a Chrome extension to help you verify what you're reading online. Yes, you should download it.

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