The Kaizen Newsletter #15 (09/03/2019)

Why is adulting hard?

One of my favourite writers, David Perell, brainstormed with his friend on why exactly is "adulting" hard and then asked the readers of his newsletter to reply to him on what we thought would be the most important factor. The ones he listed were the following: The infantilization of children, The professionalization of childhood, Delayed children and marriage, Hyper-individualism, Accelerationism, Age segregation, Changes in Media, Economic specialization, Workaholism and Student Debt.

You've probably seen the memes somewhere on your timeline.

"I'm 27 years old and I still have no idea what I'm doing"

"When my parents were 25, they already had 3 kids, would work from 7am-8pm, cook meals, clean the house. This is me: -insert stupid picture of you doing nothing".

So why exactly is adulting hard? I personally think it's a combination of two main factors. One that David already has on his list, which is hyper-individualism and the other one being the evolution of technology.

Why two and not just one? It's basically a chicken or the egg problem, where one kinda affects the other and vice-versa, so you can't choose one.

Let's break both down.

Evolution of Technology

Just 10 years ago, if you wanted to eat something at home, then you really only had two choices: cook something yourself or call for pizza to be delivered at your house. Now? You have so many choices. Want to cook, but don't want to buy your ingredients? You can get your groceries delivered to your house or you can order from Goodfood and they will send you EXACTLY what you need and you just need to cook it. Don't want to cook? Then you have your options of Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, etc. You can even go on facebook group pages and just buy cooked meals from complete strangers!

Do you want to drive somewhere but don't know where to go? Well good thing you have your google maps app that will tell you EXACTLY where to go. Who needs to know what roads you're driving on or know how to read a map. And imagine in a few years when we'll have autonomous driving cars? The next generation wouldn't even need to know how to drive!

You get the gist, right? With the evolution of technology, lot's of the skills that we HAD to know before are becoming more and more useless. Which then leads us to the next factor, Hyper-Individualism.

Hyper-Individualism

We're currently living in a culture where we are told that anything is possible, and that more and more we should be doing something that we don't consider work or that we would be able to do 60h a week and for us it would be fun.

Thankfully we are also in an era where you could make money by doing pretty much whatever you want. Do you like music? You can share your music on Shopify, Apple Music, Youtube, Soundcloud, etc. You like to do makeup, well now you can get paid to show it to others. Are you really good at video games and want to do get paid to play? That's possible as well!

But imagine if you also had to buy groceries, cook, drive, do laundry, clean your house, or any other adult task? Then you probably wouldn't have all that time to fully concentrate on your music, youtube videos or improving your gameplay. This is how technology ties in and actually allows you to just dive into what you need to do without any worries. With your small little pocket computer, you can get things done by either making other people do it for you and delivering it to you, or just make things a lot more easier and allow others to reduce the number of steps that you had to do in the past. Which then allows you to completely immerse yourself into the things that you enjoy doing.

So what does that mean?

So in the end, a loop is created where the more technology evolves, the more it allows us to completely delegate tasks or certain portion of these tasks to others which means we never actually need to learn how to do "adult" and can just concentrate our energy on doing things we really want to do.

Now, do I believe this is a good thing? Yes and no. On one hand, it gives us the option to delegate tasks that we deem unnecessary. On the other hand, I really enjoy having this responsibility of making sure the house is clean, making sure I can cook food for myself and others and it would be sad if we eventually live in a society where people just specialize in ONE THING and that's it.

Now, on to the newsletter.


Weekly Articles

🧠 Mental Models

  • First Principles - In last week's newsletter, I introduced an article discussing what are mental models and how to apply them in your everyday life. There was one particular mental model, First Principles, where I didn't totally get, so I decided to find some other articles that would go more in-depth. I found two really good articles by two of my favourite online writers in James Clear (author of Atomic Habit) and Shane Parrish from Farnam Street. You can read them here and here. The Farnam Street article explains it very well: "A first principle is a foundational proposition or assumption that stands alone. We cannot deduce first principles from any other proposition or assumption." So really breaking down the components of a problem to a state where you know you can't go further than that and then seeing if it's possible to think of different ways to solve the problem.

👑 Wait But Why

  • A Game of Giants - In this chapter of The Story of Us, he talks about how humans are different than animals in the sense that our sense of tribalism has a range. The example he gives is a perfect one where if it's you and your brother, well you'll most likely think of yourself first and start fighting with your brother if he's annoying. But if your cousins come and start annoying both of you, well then it becomes an us (you and your brother) vs them (your cousins). Then if we introduce strangers, well it becomes us (your family) vs them (the strangers).

💪 Self-Improvement

  • The Glorious, Almost-Disconnected Boredom of My Walk in Japan - It's crazy to say that nowadays boredom is a luxury and that it's very difficult to just disconnect and be in silence with our thoughts. This author decided to go for a long six WEEKS walk in Japan without almost no connection to the outside world. It reminded me a lot about my two days of camping during vacation where I had almost no service, so I was "forced" find stuff to do without my phone. It also felt REALLY good to not rely on your phone at all and just be mindful and present of what's happening at that very moment. Very peaceful and lovely article to read that reminds me that it's good to disconnect every once in a while.

  • How We Handle Career Progression at Aira - Personal Growth is something that is super important to me and is one of the main things I look for in a company. Thankfully, my company is aligned and allows me to grow in my role. This post is interesting since it shows how this company handles career progression. I love it, since, at the basis, the company knows that every employee will eventually move on, so they try and make the relationship a win-win for both the business and the employee.


Weekly Favourites

📺 Show

  • Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones - As soon as I saw that this show was getting criticized by the media, I knew it would be a good watch. I'll have to say, it isn't his funniest show, but it's still overall very good. What I liked is that he wasn't afraid of making jokes on taboo subjects. Nowadays, we can't criticize anyone EXCEPT if the media says we can criticize it. Trump? Yup. The Right? Go ahead. Gun ban? Please continue. But when it comes to the left, abortion, feminism, or the LGBTQ? WOAH THERE. THAT'S WAY TOO FAR. Now, do I agree with all of Chappelle's stances? No, but it's very refreshing to hear someone say what they actually have on their mind (and I'm sure other people have the same thoughts too but are too afraid to voice them) and not just say what is PC. And honestly, that's what comedy is supposed to be.

🏯 Anime

  • Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba) - Finally started watching Demon Slayer and understand the hype. Not as many self-improvement lessons as in Boku No Hero, but the animation is amazing.

🎤 Podcast

  • Safi Bahcall on Tim Ferris Podcast - I’ve always been interested in hypnosis, so it was really interesting to hear about it. It’s really not too far from meditation, but the biggest difference is the fact that meditation is more like tuning down the volume of a radio, where as hypnosis you can actually change the tune you are hearing. Which is at the same time insanely useful, but also seems very dangerous if not used properly. One of the tips he gave to go to sleep in 30 seconds is to imagine 2-digit numbers from 1-100 and also picture them visually coming out of a canon. He also talks about giving each “domain” a personality and sitting with them in a meeting to review what you are thinking about.

🐦 Tweet

🎧 Music

Songs

Albums

🙏 Shoutouts

  • Shoutout to my friends Oli and Mel who just got married this past weekend. Super beautiful wedding and had a blast at the reception!


👋 End Note

If you want to know what I'm up to now, you can check it on my website here.

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Feedback is always appreciated, so let me know what you liked and what I can improve on by replying to this email.

If you see any cool articles, links, tweets, stories or podcasts that you think are interesting, feel free to share as well at alex@alexhughsam.com

See you next Tuesday!

PEACE ✌🏻

Alexander