Justin Wright

Weekly Recap - Nonlinear Thinking

published2 months ago
3 min read

Happy Monday!

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This week we are talking about paths in life that are anything but straight and narrow.

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Nonlinear Thinking

The thoughts we have and the paths we choose to follow in life are often predetermined by our families, close friends, and the communities we were raised in. There is a great deal of societal pressure to follow this path in order to be perceived as "successful" by our peers. Perhaps your parents valued education above all else and worked incredibly hard to put you through school; success to them is likely pursuing an advanced degree in a field like medicine, law, or business. Maybe you were groomed to take over the family business, whether it's a restaurant, construction company, or fortune 500 company.

The point is, our circumstances and environment often present us with one path that is seen as "correct" by those around us. There may be some variance allowed (you can become a doctor or a lawyer), but it's often clear what is expected of us. This leads to linear thinking (if I do X, then I will achieve Y) and we focus on climbing the proverbial ladder to arrive at our predetermined destination. Stumbles along this path are seen as failures, and if we haven't surmounted a certain number of rungs on this ladder by the "expected time" then we are confronted with questions.

In reality, life is anything but linear. We are the sum total of all our experiences, but there is no way to know exactly which experiences will be most prominent in this recipe. If you go through life with blinders on, staring only at the ladder above, you will leave plenty of opportunity untouched. It's important to alter your thinking from the straight path presented to you, and instead go exploring along the boundaries.

While well-intentioned, the paths that our friends and family present to us are often nothing more than their insecurities manifesting. Maybe your parents are ashamed of working menial jobs to provide for you when in actuality they should be proud of their strength and their work ethic. Maybe your father is afraid of passing on the family business to new owners when in reality he has lost all passion for his career. Maybe your friend wishes they had gotten the same opportunities presented to you, and now they're trying to live vicariously through your actions. Despite the reasons, listening to what others want for your life is always a bad idea.

Follow your interests, take the road less traveled, aim to spend enough time trying new things to genuinely determine whether or not you enjoy them. Some day in the future, you may be tasked with solving a problem that you are uniquely suited to solve, all because of some random book you read or some last-minute trip you took. Life is meant to be lived, so screw the ladder and go get your hands dirty!

Hit List

The most interesting things I've read, heard, or encountered this week:

What I'm reading: Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order by Ray Dalio

I've recommended this book in the past, but I decided to dig back into it given all of the uncertainty in the world right now. Dalio may be one of the best macro investors alive, and I found it helpful to learn about the cyclical nature of the global economy from his perspective given the times we are living in.

What I'm watching: Exit Through the Gift Shop

This documentary is directed by the famous street artist Banksy. I had completely forgotten about it until I attended the Art of Banksy exhibit here in Boston. The whole culture surrounding this art is very interesting, and this particular documentary won a number of awards.

A great thread from another artist: All the places my Vans have gone by Isaac Wright

Isaac Wright AKA Drifter Shoots is one of my favorite photographers alive right now. I encountered his work through Twitter, but his life story is really what drew me in. This time last year Isaac was incarcerated for "urban exploring" (he takes photos from high atop buildings, bridges, and skyscrapers), an activity that helped him cope with his PTSD. Now a free man, Isaac's work has sold for large sums of money and he was recently included in an auction at Sotheby's.

An interesting chart:

While I'm obviously pro-crypto and pro-blockchain, this graph from the Milk Road newsletter (which you should definitely subscribe to if you have any interest in crypto/Web3) is pretty cool. Things like this make me very bullish on the future of this technology.

That will do it for this week! Please let me know what you liked, didn't like, and what you want to see more of. Do you want it to be longer, shorter? Do you want specific topics covered more? Less? Have a wonderful week, and remember to please forward this to your friends -- helping get the word out and get more eyes on this newsletter is hugely helpful and greatly appreciated!

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