01 Apr RadReads n°165
This week: Travel is no cure for the mind, focusing on happiness can make you unhappy, Vaclav Smil profile, impostor syndrome in academia.
This week’s postscript:What Childish Gambino taught me about “just starting”
Dan Sevigny is the co-founder of the digital marketing firm Spooky Digital and founder of Recovery X, an online platform for addiction recovery. As a kid, Dan was sensitive, had learning difficulties, and trouble connecting with his peer and turned to drugs and alcohol as a teen. This kicked off a 10+ year cycle where drug use, aggression, and petty crime would get him kicked out of school and then sent to rehab. The cycle became more destructive, the aggression turned more violent, the rehab leading to juvie and jail. Dan describes the feedback loops of addiction and how depression made him feel like he was “on fire, with no skin and with everything in his body hurting.” Dan makes it extremely clear that there’s no silver bullet to recovery, but help came in the form of a mentor, learning about Search Engine Marketing while in rehab, and numerous therapists, particularly around DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). And through all of this, Dan honors his family, his mom and sisters in particular and he surprised me by how often he brings up his own privilege.
8 mins | Personal Growth
If you’ve got a corporate job, you’ve probably fantasized about quitting, packing a bag, and roaming around the world. I did it. Some RadReaders are doing it as we speak. It’s a privilege to be able to do so. It’s pretty fun too. But most people who have done it will also share another feeling. Once the newness of a youth hostel, a new city each weekend, and new friends and food wears off – the angst and unanswered questions about “the self” still linger. The illustrations of this post are great and at the end you get a little Easter Egg (pun, not intended) – it’s an adaptation from Seneca’s letter “On Travel as a Cure for Discontent.” Can you imagine him as the protagonist for Eat, Pray, Love?.
5 mins | behavioral scientist
A lot of (digital) ink in these pages has been spilled around the pursuit of happiness. Much of the research points to a few well-documented practices: expressing gratitude, performing acts of kindness, and savoring the moment. But let’s invert. Is it possible that these activities can backfire? It turns out, gratitude can make you “feel ashamed, incompetent, or inferior for having needed help in the first place” and acts of kindness “can promote resentment, frustration, or anger” and “the giver may feel taken advantage of, exploited, or distressed.” Don’t worry y’all, I’m still truly grateful you’re reading this!
15 Minutes | Science Magazine
The only reason I’ve heard of Vaclav Smil is through Bill Gates’ reading list – it turns out that Gates waits for new Smil books “the way some people wait for the next Star Wars movie.” Smil writes about energy, yet his path has differed from traditional academics due to his non-silo’d approach and contempt for models. He looks to history to understand three big shifts (fire, farming, industrialization). We’re in the midst of the fourth transition, to non-carbon-emitting sources – but he’s not optimistic, in part due to the low “power density” of wind, sun and biofuel and the lack of storage. Smil eschews the big policy debates and believes that much of change must come from the individual level.
22 Minutes |AEON
This is a thought-provoking read on the link between impostor syndrome and socio-economic (i.e. class-based) exclusion. It extends as a critique to the perception of rural and agrarian communities ranging from stock photography to the “Walden phenomenon” – that country folk are “admirable only insofar as they are rather simple-minded, unburdened by self-awareness.”
Below the Fold
🇺🇸Economies of Unscale: Why Business Has Never Been Easier for the Little Guy (4 mins, HBR): The tools for creativity and distribution are just insane.
🏠 The Best Careers Are Non-Linear (3 mins, Just Dudas): Is the traditional career narrative long in the tooth?
💸 Kill a Dead-End Job and Make the Leap to Career Happiness (11 mins, The New York Times): RadReader and podcast guest Mike Lewis on the When to Jump playbook.
FROM THE #RADFAM
✏ Don’t confuse optionality and safety nets (4 mins): For options to have value, risks need to be taken.
🤑 How to network with kindness and generosity (2 mins): Our webinar on network structures, how to act in a meeting, and creating systems to scale your relationships.
LAST WEEK’S MOST READ
☑ When Your Body Tells You What Your Brain Won’t (4 mins, The New York Times): When the silence of a relationship is rich with information.
Ready for a personal finance tune-up? Download our most popular Guide to Lifestyle Creep.