Tiny Revolutions №39: Perspective and Possibilities
choosing enlargement over happiness 🌎
Hi, I’m Sara, and this is Tiny Revolutions, a weekly dispatch of personal writing and links about the art of becoming who you are. Reply anytime, I love to hear from you.
Photo of swirling ice in the Foxe Basin of northern Canada courtesy of USGS
In last week’s issue, I linked to an article that suggested that, when faced with a difficult life decision, it’s better to choose “enlargement” over happiness. The rationale being that we are really bad at predicting what makes us happy, so we should instead go in the direction of things that will expand our horizons.
I’ve been thinking about this idea all week, and about how if you’re not careful, it’s easy to become trapped in a filter bubble of news and perspectives that just confirm your own beliefs and biases. How if you’re spending a fair amount of time online — and who isn’t these days? — in order to escape it, you really have to go out of your way to find alternate ways of seeing the world.
So I thought I’d share some things I’ve come across recently that have opened my eyes in one way or another.
I am loving the hilarious, bawdy, heartbreaking story of Tanqueray, an aging burlesque dancer, that is currently unfolding over at Humans of New York. It’s wonderfully reflective of the incredible twists and turns that can happen in a human life. Here’s the first in the series:
I just discovered the blogger and illustrator Tanmay Vora, who writes about learning and leadership. I liked these two drawings.
“The map of reality is not reality. Even the best maps are imperfect. That’s because they are reductions of what they represent. If a map were to represent the territory with perfect fidelity, it would no longer be a reduction and thus would no longer be useful to us. A map can also be a snapshot of a point in time, representing something that no longer exists.”
I’m slowly making my way through Shane Parrish’s Great Mental Models project on the Farnam Street blog, which is dedicated to exploring alternate ways of seeing the world that can expand your perspective. The above quote is from one of the models he discusses, The Map is Not the Territory.
If you really want to have your mind blown, take 11 minutes and watch my Zen teacher Brad Warner’s video where he explains the Buddhist view of time, and the idea that action creates the conditions for itself to happen.
Stumbled across this on Twitter.
“I think about how growing old gracefully really means either disappearing or sticking around but always lying straight to people’s faces about the strength of your feelings and desires. Aging gracefully means proving, day in and day out, that you can take anything — a private excoriation, a public beatdown, an endless trickle of negs, a quiet, continuous undermining, a slow erosion of your confidence, a sudden jolt to your system strong enough to make all of your illusions cave in on themselves. Growing old gracefully means you eat it and smile through closed lips. You pretend you didn’t hear a word, didn’t see a thing, are utterly in the dark, a gorgeous, silent vessel still built to hold the most merciless man’s limited imagination.”
Screw aging “gracefully.” Here’s a powerful ode to aging however the fuck you want from perennial Tiny Revolutions favorite Heather Havrilesky.
That’s all for me this week. If you’ve seen something that challenged or changed your mind lately, do be a lamb and drop it in the comments.
p.s. Share this with someone who loves to be surprised!