Digestable #39: Nordegg Ice, Tiny Habits & Streaks, Non-Limited Self Control, Two Fat People, Epictetus Taking Action

Hey everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Digestable, the short, weekly email where we follow our curiosity and share poems. This edition was emailed to subscribers on February 6th, 2022.

Let’s gooo!

Nordegg Ice: My family and I spent the weekend in Nordegg sampling the winter activities. Our local guides (my son Ariel and daughter-in-law Emilie) took us skating on Abraham Lake ice bubbles, ice climbing at Frontier Lodge, and snowshoeing up Allstones Creek. Here are some video and photo highlights:

Tiny Habits and STREAKS: How are your NY resolutions going? Since January 1st, I’ve been enjoying the “Tiny Habits” method combined with the STREAKS app to relearn guitar. The “Tiny Habits” method teaches you to take minuscule baby steps (like, as small as floss ONE tooth) to create lasting behavior change. The STREAKS app is a simple app that you can record and track your daily habits with. The app is designed to encourage you to not break your chain or “streak” of success. So here’s how it works for me: my Tiny Habit is to play guitar for TWO minutes every evening as part of my bedtime routine. When I complete my guitar practice I record it on STREAKS. If I can maintain the streak until my birthday in June, I get to treat myself to a new guitar! 90% of the time my 2 minutes morphs into 15-20 minutes because I am enjoying playing guitar so much. Isn’t it strange how we have to play these mental games with ourselves to get us to do things we actually enjoy?? Or is it just me …

Limited vs Non-Limited Self-Control Theory: There is a widely circulated idea (with studies to back it up) that willpower is a finite resource that you deplete throughout the day. Is it true? If you think it is, it might be! Some research has shown that if you think your self-control is a limited resource (“limited theory”), you are more likely to succumb to temptation and struggle to pursue your goals. On the flip side, if you believe that demanding activities DON’T deplete your energy (non-limited theory), you experience more success in achieving your goals. Retired U.S. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink – famous for insane levels of self-discipline – teaches that the more you use willpower the more you’ll have. Read more about this topic in “The Complete Guide to Self-Control” by Scott Young. Credit to Cal Newport for the link.

Poem I’m Pondering: My favorite poem by the 14th century Persian Sufi poet, Hafiz:

“God and I have become like two giant fat people living in a tiny boat. We keep bumping into each other and laughing.”

Hafiz

That’s it, that’s the poem. 🙂

Quote I’m Pondering – Epictetus on “Taking Action:” “Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer.

Put your principles into practice – now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren’t a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. The longer you wait, the more you’ll be vulnerable to mediocrity and feel filled with shame and regret, because you know you are capable of better.

From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do – now.”


– Epictetus in Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness. Epictetus was born into slavery about 55 ce in the eastern outreaches of the Roman Empire. Once freed, he established an influential school of Stoic philosophy, stressing that human beings cannot control life, only their responses to it. Credit to James Clear for the quote.

Where did your curiosity lead you this week? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks again for following along. I’m having a riot putting these together, so if you are enjoying this newsletter I’d love it if you shared it with a friend or two and we can keep the great conversations growing.

Yours truly,
Jeff

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