Opposing views

I was making my way through Dalio’s book Principles, and a passage stuck out to me:

When two people believe opposite things, chances are that one of them is wrong.

Principles, Ray Dalio, pg. 190

This led me down a rabbit hole of thought, and I’m not convinced of the premise. For every belief I have, there is someone who will disagree with me. But it’s because belief isn’t a statement of factual information, and maybe I’m just caught up in the wording.

Facts can be proved and disproved. Beliefs are much harder to handle in that regard, and while Dalio suggests a doctrine of thoughtful disagreement to get to the bottom of a problem, to “find out which view is true”, I can’t help but think that every belief is true, while at the same time it may not be.

This duality of truth/untruth in belief causes many disagreements. The book is about business principles, and I can see where this methodology of thoughtful disagreement can work exceptionally well for deciding matters where differing viewpoints may crop up – marketing practices, manufacturing, product development, and investment strategies. Beliefs in that sense will have some form of comparable quantitative data to support or contradict them.

But beliefs that revolve around more fundamental human conditions – religion, politics, life purpose, etc. – these are much more difficult to quantify. Likely that Dalio intended to avoid that train of thought in this section, but I felt like getting my head around it anyway.

 

Weekly Rundown

Still getting settled here in Ketchikan, AK. Ketchikan is the sixth largest community in the state, with a population of around 14,000-15,000. For the summer, I’m adding my name to that list.

Currently reading The Starless Sea By Erin Morgenstern. I read The Night Circus, her first novel, back in 2014. I was in DC at the time. This new novel tells many tales, and weaves back and forth in a book lover’s revery. It’s entertaining and captivating, and I’m waiting to see where it leads.

Beyond that, there’s fears over the Coronavirus. Best to stay safe out there, take care of yourself, and wash your hands.

Letting go of disappointment

Sometimes it won’t go the way you intend it. Sometimes you’ll make a mistake (or three). You’ll miss a deadline, you’re overestimate or under-deliver. There are a thousand-and-one ways to screw up. And at some point you’ll make that misstep.

But, it’s okay. It happens. More often than not it’s a revoverable misstep, and if it isn’t – it’s not the end of the world. No one has screwed up so badly that the world ceased to exist, because we are still here.

So let it go. Move on. It’s okay. There’s always tomorrow.

What we don’t understand

In the early stages of a panic fear takes over. A fear from not knowing much, of anything, for sure. The more information we have regarding a thing, the less fearful we become.

It comes from being huddled together in the dark, not seeing what happens just beyond the tree line. Once fire illuminated the shadows we were able to conquer those fears.

But as we are the ancestors of those early fire-starters, so too are our fears ancestors of those early shadows. It is important to light the night, and shine upon the unknown, to diminish our fears.

Impostor Syndrome

You want to know something? I don’t know what I’m doing.

Just about every day I ask myself twenty, thirty, fifty times, “What do I want to do? Where do I want to go?”

Sometimes that means what will I write. Other times, it’s where I want to live. Or work. Or play. And I can never answer in the long term.

There are times I feel guilty writing this blog because someone could read it. And, feeling the effects of impostor syndrome, I feel that the reader could have spent time reading something more valuable.

Yes, I try to provide value here. Tips I’ve found helpful, or stories I wanted to share. Places and things that were meaningful to me, or insights I’ve come across. But at the end of the day, it’s just me and my computer. or my notebook, and I don’t have a clue.

Thing is, no one does. Some people make more money or lead what we would call interesting lives. But they are just as lost as the rest of us, searching for answers in their own way.

I write here to practice writing. I write here to be present with something. I write here because it forces me to pay attention to the world so that I have something to write about.

But the hardest things to write are those things hit close to home. Admitting that I don’t know what I’m doing. Saying to myself, and whoever’s reading this, that it’s okay. It’s okay to not know. We’re not meant to know all the answers. It’s the journey that’s important, not the destination.

Weekly Rundown

  • The Outsider… I wanted to watch this show but was waiting. I waited until I heard the Fresh Air interview from Terry Gross with Ben Mendelsohn. I hadn’t known he was Australian. The series is adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same name and follows the story of a detective investigating a homicide that was committed while the main suspect was sixty miles away on camera. Supernatural and mysterious, the season finale airs this Sunday night on HBO.
  • Super Tuesday. There’s a lot of talk about this day being the day that a clear frontrunner emerges from the primaries. But, where did it come from? This brief history from NPR’s Domenico Montanaro gives the rundown of the term from its start in 1980 and illustrates which elections since then have enjoyed an absence of nomination battles.
  • A quote worth mentioning: “But the traveler’s world is not the ordinary one, for travel itself, even the most commonplace, is an implicit quest for anomaly.” – Paul Fussell
  • Stock Market ups and downs. It’s been an odd couple of weeks, with China being hit hard by the novel coronavirus, and pandemic fears reaching across borders. But, incredibly interesting to watch.
  • And a little bit more from Knives Out director Rian Johnson, this time on why a villain in a movie won’t use an iPhone.