The Paradox of Family

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    151 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    One thing for you to think about

    The most important thing family teaches you is how to actively love a person you don’t necessarily like.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Three things for you to ask yourself

    How can you be more patient, empathetic, and graceful with someone close to you who maybe rubs you the wrong way? What would it look like if your relationship with someone close to you had no drama? What would that require?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    Simply be with someone without any desire to change them or control the interaction. Accept who they are. Try to be drama-free.

    Oh, and Merry fucking Christmas.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    New This Week

    How to Stop Wasting Your Life (ft. Oliver Burkeman) – In case you find yourself staring into the abyss this holiday season, perhaps it’s time to start using time wisely. I sat down with bestselling author Oliver Burkeman to discuss what a life well spent looks like and how it doesn’t necessarily involve maximizing every second of every day.

    Last week’s breakthroughs (and a question answered)

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to give up something where the failure feels uninspiring, and double your focus on something where failure feels fun.

    This is exactly what Steph did:

    For years I was a financial consultant to startups. I often felt as if I had to have answers right out of the gate. I never felt prepared.

    I’m now in an entry-level job digging through Oracle databases and writing SQL code to slightly untangle some financial hiccup that someone at the company is having. There is abundant patience around me and space for me to learn my craft from folks who have been at it for years. Failure happens all the time when I’m learning. And it’s fun! I’m expected to fail and not know everything.

    I’ve never been happier in a job!

    While the next reader is learning from failure and making it more palatable:

    I enjoy carpentry. When learning a new technique I’ve noticed that the third attempt is where I start seeing competence. The first attempt always ends in major lessons and never is 100% presentable. Known errors are corrected in Attempt #2. The third try is where the fine tuning begins. Every build after the third just gets better.

    I used to expect perfection on the first attempt and that only led to discouragement. It’s just not a realistic goal. Sometimes you have to adjust your expectations so that first failure is less devastating. Doing is learning. Learning is doing. And three times is a charm!

    Finally, many readers, like this one, asked for advice on how to make failure fun:

    What if in nothing I feel fun failing at? Failing in anything creates anxiety in me not because of the failure but because this society doesn’t accept failures. If people you are surrounded by make your failure at anything hard, then what to do?

    Two things:

    1) I find that people vastly overestimate how much they will be judged for failures. The fact is that most people don’t care what you’re doing or not doing, most of the time. Most people will forget your failures within seconds of them happening. But they will remember your successes for a long time.

    2) I also find that most people who believe “society” is going to judge their failures harshly are actually just surrounded by 1-2 people who judge their failures harshly—usually a friend or family member. Ultimately, you want to surround yourself with people who understand that trying and failing are a natural part of life and will encourage you to overcome mistakes. If those people aren’t around you right now, make an effort to find them and surround yourself with them as soon as possible.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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