This is really really awesome - history of rock’n’roll in 100 riffs
Breaking news: “X may cause Y”
I hate these articles. X either does cause Y, or it doesn’t. If you don’t know, it just isn’t news. Grrr…
Thoughts about life and death
Enough has been said about how much it sucks to lose your pets, and ours are no different. This did make me think of something else: quality of life vs longevity.
The reason we put both Houdini and Santine to sleep is because they were terminally ill, were suffering, and were not enjoying life. Euthanasia is the only humane thing to do, as difficult as it is (you are literally killing your pet - murder of first degree).
There are some parallels with people. Modern medicine has proclaimed victory over life span. How many times have you heard that the average life expectancy in the middle ages was only 30 years? Well, did you know this includes infant mortality? According to Wikipedia, “During the early 1600s in England, life expectancy was only about 35 years, largely because two-thirds of all children died before the age of four”. And once a person reached the age of 21, his life expectancy went to 64! The current world-wide average is 67, btw.
The reality is most old people nowadays pop 100 pills a day, and they are effectively artificially extending their life to get to 67, while they are probably significantly less healthy than their 17th century ancestors.
I’m certainly not suggesting that everyone who’s physically suffering be euthanized, but the goal of life isn’t just to be alive at all costs - it’s to enjoy it, and do something with it… to live with a purpose.
Shitty day. Had to put one of my guinea pigs to sleep today. Euthanasia sucks because you are technically killing your pet, and actually have to convince yourself you’re doing the right thing. What sucks even more is your pet’s last minutes are spent in fear, in an unknown bright room with random people doing things to it. Doing it at home is highly recommended.
The fox from the Little Prince came to mind: you become attached to what you tame. To other people he would be no different from a random squirrel. But to me he was Houdini, with a personality that made him “him”, and a history of caring and interaction. Rest in peace buddy.
How I conquered meditation
On paper, Ive been trying to meditate for over 2 years. I’ve read books. I’ve downloaded apps. I’ve told people “yeah I meditate sometimes, it’s awesome”. And I’ve been a big fat liar until 3 weeks ago.
I’ve been successfully and regularly meditating for about 3 weeks, and I don’t plan on stopping. Here are my 3 rules for how to meditate successfully. They are obviously based on my personal experience, but if you have been *trying* to meditate, they could work for you (and if anyone has any others, I’d love to know).
Rule 1 - set a timer
I’ve tried winging it, and just sitting down for “a few minutes”. That shit doesn’t work. You need a timer. Luckily there’s an app for that.
Rule 2 - do it daily
My expectation is to sit for 10 min per day as a rule. I’ve skipped a couple of days but those are exceptions.
Rule 3 - don’t expect results
I’ve made the mistake of assuming that a successful meditation is one where you can stop your thoughts. So when that didn’t happen, I got frustrated. I read that you’re not supposed to get frustrated with yourself but that’s hard. Especially when you realize you’ve just spent a full minute thinking about that movie you saw a year ago and it took you until now to realize it!
Now I expect to meditate “successfully” 1% of the time. Or rather i redefined what success means. My friend Jon, who’s been kind enough to teach me, put it best. He said thoughts will appear that distract you, but just tell them “you can hang out, it’s totally cool, but I’m gonna put my attention back on my breath”. That’s worked really well for me.
That’s it. There are no results to be expected. I just make sure to sit for 10 minutes, (almost) every day, and don’t expect to become a yogi overnight. I just bring my attention back to my breath whenever I realize it’s wandered (which happens a lot but I’m totally cool with it). In other words, meditation for me is not an outcome, it’s a process.
Perspective is a bitch
A few days ago we found out that our dog has cancer, and doesn’t have long to live. Like weeks, not months. And not many of them. Nadine and I were devastated. A week before she was a healthy, happy and playful - nobody could guess she’s almost 11. And now she’s given just a couple weeks to live?
That same day she started feeling noticeably worse. Didn’t eat, no energy, layed on her bed all day,
and just looked miserable. We nearly gave up and couldn’t get tears out of our eyes.
But 2 days later something happened - she’s feeling better. Eats, wants to play and run outside… And suddenly all of her shenanigans that used to annoy the shit out of me - begging for food, barking at noises outside, pulling on the leash, and general bossy behavior - just make me really happy and put a big smile on my face. I know she’s not cured, but I’m going to enjoy every moment I have with her.
UPDATE: 3 days since I wrote this, and Santine’s shenanigans annoy me again. But I still appreciate and enjoy her a ton.
Charity is selfish
I had this random thought the other day. What if selflessness is not doing what’s best for others, but redefining what “you” is?
Most charitable giving is done to causes donors associate with. Some people work at their local homeless shelter because they identify with their community. Some do the Big Brother program because they identify with their 10 year old self. My wife has been doing animal rescue for years, because she actually “feels” for the animals. In fact, one might argue that “green types” actually have a greater vision of connectedness of everything on our planet. For them “I” is not just their physical self, but the entire ecosystem we are intimately connected with.
Under this logic, nobody is actually doing what’s best for “others”. We are still being selfish, but change the definition of “I” to include “others.” Thoughts?
Have you ever revisited the place where you grew up, and realized how much bigger everything used to seem?
I spent this past week in Moscow, where I spent the first 16 years of my life. I then took a 10 year break, but visit the city about once a year for the last few years.
The first trip after 10 years was mind blowing. I arrived directly from a plane to my school class reunion - with 30 kids I grew up with. It was like stepping back in a time machine, unbelievable.
But there are 2 main things that fascinating about revisiting old places:
1) You feel like you never left. It’s like the world you used to live in is completely separate from the one you’re in now. They never cross.
2) Everything used to seem much bigger when you were a kid. The places that seemed huge are actually tiny. The distances that seemed unwalkable take 10 minutes. The staircases that used to be exhaustingly long now only take a quick hop.
Frame of reference is an amazing thing.
Thoughts on Fatherhood (and Entrepreneurship)
As some of you know, 8 weeks ago I became a dad. It’s been an amazing ride already and only getting better. I’m still processing what the hell happened, but a few learnings about fatherhood are starting to surface.
I realize this may be just sleepless delusion, but they seem to be closely correlated with my learnings about entrepreneurship. So here’s Dmitri’s List of Knowledge about Fatherhood (and Entrepreneurship). Please note, I have no illusions that fatherhood can compare with motherhood. If men had to bear children, human kind would die off a loooong time ago.
Sperm (and ideas) are easy to produce: Seriously, they aren’t worth much. Don’t take too much credit. What happens after is the hard and meaningful part.
Your wife (and cofounder) deserves way more credit than you expected: They are doing all the work. Especially if you’re still giving yourself credit for the sperm (or the idea).
You need a team: My wife and I don’t have family nearby, so it’s been harder, but it helps to have a solid support team. That doesn’t mean you need to cram all your relatives in your house (or hire a bunch of people before you know what they need to be doing).
You need mentors: This is a big one, especially for first time parents (and entrepreneurs). The amount of mistakes that I avoided by listening to smart people is astounding.
You need to make sacrifices. Period: Sleep is #1. Social life is #2. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a fact to be dealt with. It will come back to you once things are rolling but don’t expect to be going out 5 nights a week if you just had a kid (a startup).
Everything takes time: I used to think this is bad, now I learned to appreciate it. Everything follows the principle of a seed. Certain things you cannot speed up (can’t have 9 women give birth to 1 baby in 1 month).
Its really fun to watch her/him/it grow: Seriously, it’s amazing. Simple but amazing.
Prepare to deal with shit: 'Nuff said
Fail fast: If you fail, just give up and make a new one. What????
You can do it: This is the most important one for me. I’ve had doubts about my ability to be a good father and entrepreneur. Everyone does, it’s normal (or so I’ve heard). The good news is I’m not the first, and there is a ton of support, especially today where you can learn from others online. When doubts creep up, I remind myself that each of them were in my shoes and had the same worries. It’s very important to dissipate any doubts quickly before you go crazy.
That’s it for now and I’d love for you dads/enrepreneurs to add to the list.
PS: Nadine, you’re amazing. Thank you for everything.